IN NIGERIA, CITIZENS USE TRACKA TO MONITOR PROJECTS

Nigerians now breathe a sigh of relief as the end to era of project abandonment and syphoning of funds meant for rural and developmental projects are over.

This is coming in line with the berth of Tracka, which enable citizens track projects that have been listed in the nation’s Budget in order to ensure funds allocated for the execution of these projects are properly utilized. It also allows citizens give feedback to government and their communities.

Tracka, launched in 2014 by BudgIT, enables people to collaborate and track projects in their community.

BudgIT,a tool aim to redefine participatory governance was registered in February 2011, as a civic partner, and a co-creation hub.

OluseunOnigbinde, Lead Partner/Co-founder of BudgIT, mentioned that the team’s mission is to make government data more simple, accessible and transparent by the citizens.

Identifying reasons for the launch of Tracka, Seun said through the intervention of Tracka, abandoned projects that were yet to be initiated in some certain communities in Nigeria have been delivered to the communities.

His words: “At Tracka, we look at local community projects, ensuring that citizens themselves talk to their legislators, connecting them to people who are supposed to represent them; enforcing it and ensuring government give all these projects on time to them.

“Tracka allows urban youths, core institutions, and civil society organizations monitor the performance of the budget, and also improve their advocacy”

TRACKING FLOOD RELIEF FUNDS IN NIGERIA

In 2012, Nigerians witnessed flood disaster across the country which left 363 people dead, 2.3 million people displaced, and 597,476 houses damaged.

Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. MuhammedSani-Sadi said the total value of losses across all sectors of economic activity was estimated at $7.3bn, while the combined value of the damages and losses was $16.9bn.

The crisis,which affected 27 states out of the country’s 36 states and FCT,led to the establishment of temporary camps, a national emergency fund campaign and also establishment of private sector groups who raised funds to support flood victims.

In October 2012, former President Goodluck Jonathan announced the release of N17.6 billion ($109.1 Million) as direct financial assistance to the affected states and some Federal Government agencies responsible for disaster management.

Additionally, funds were privately mobilized by the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation co-chaired by businessman AlikoDangote and Lagos-based lawyer, OlisaAgbakoba) to complement government’s efforts at bringing succor to the victims of the flooding across the country.

Tracka, with its project officers were able to follow the flood money to ascertain the level of faithfulness with the funds.

Working with selected civil society organizations and affected communities, the project undertook analysis of the amounts that trickled down to citizens in financial and non-financial terms. Project officers also tracked some of the flood victims to know how they were faring after the flood incident.

FEEDBACK FROM SOME OF THE FLOOD VICTIMS

Chief YakubuShuiab of Idagula Village in Idallamela, Kogi State said, “I received a shelter box and a sum of N40,000 for a collapsed house. My community members received N40,000 each.”

Onate Ihyanga, Traditional Ruler of OjeneIbaji Village, Kogi Statesaid: My community members and I received nothing from the government.”

 Mrs. Elizabeth John, of Kiagbodo town, Burutu, Delta State: “My farmland was destroyed which led to hunger in my home, a collapsed building and I was paid nothing and those who knew the council members got paid.”

Mr. Gabriel Oseh of AAPeace Works, Delta State: “15 out of 25 LGAs were greatly affected. We gathered that IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] were chased out of camp after 5 months and were paid N5000. Hereby sharing the relief materials meant for the victims among the council members.

Mr. KaluUke, of Uhanku road, Abia South LGA, Abia State: “My household and I got only 10 cups of rice as compensation from state government.”

Mr. EmekaKalu, Ngwa road, Abia South LGA, Abia State: “The flood destroyed all the goods in my shop yet I did not get any support neither from the federal government nor the state government.”

Mr. Innocent Omachonu, OjeneIbaji Village, Kogi State: “In the camp, we hardly received two meals per day due to the sharing formula which was poor.”

AN ESTABLISHED PLATFORM

Advocacy and campaigns to engage relevant sectors of the society and government towards ensuring the effective, transparent and accountable use of funds earmark forprojects and rehabilitation purposes is key in ensuring elected officials and government meet up with promises.

 

Ibrahim Olalekan is a media writer and specialist. His enormous task as journalist has earned him media space in some leading online newspapers. Aside being a seasoned journalist, Olalekan has keen interest in advocacy, rural development and politics. Olalekan is a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, and can be reach via: ibrahimolalekan001@yahoo.com or +2348101988313 and @lekanpaul