SERI Seeks Collaboration With Anambra State Government

President of SERI Raymond Onyegu presents copies of SERI's Publication to Anambra SSG Professor Solo Chukwulobelu.

President of SERI Raymond Onyegu Presents Copies of SERI’s Publication to Anambra SSG Professor Solo Chukwulobelu.

As part of the implementation of its Demand-driven Participatory Governance Programme in the South East region, a delegation from Socio-Economic Rights Initiative (SERI) led by its President/Chief Executive Officer Barrister Raymond Onyegu recently paid an advocacy visit to the Secretary

The purpose of the visit was to formally introduce SERI to the State Government, intimate the Government of the work the organization has done in the state in the past and solicit the Government’s partnership in its current and future work in the state.

Elaborating on the purpose of the visit, Onyegu informed the SSG that SERI was the organization contracted by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs) to monitor and evaluate the implementation of MDG projects in Anambra State between 2005 and 2011.

In 2013, SERI was contracted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conduct Voter Education and Mobilization of the Electorate in Anambra South Senatorial Zone for the Governorship election under UNDP’s Democratic Governance for Development Project.

Furthermore, with funding from the Ford Foundation and in collaboration with the Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASA-TU), SERI as part of its Demand-driven Governance Participatory Proramme in South East Nigeria undertook a field survey of the 179 communities in Anambra State and produced a publication containing the Inventory of Abandoned Projects in the State as well as a List of Communities and Their Project Proposals for the 2013 Budget. Copies of the publication entitled Project Proposals To Anambra State Government were made available to the State Government and other stakeholders.

As a follow-up to the last-mentioned project, Onyegu informed the SSG that SERI was deploying monitors back to the communities in the state three years after to ascertain the level of the implementation of the projects contained in the Proposals.

Responding to Onyegu’s address, Chukwulobelu, who is the immediate past Commissioner for Budget and Planning in the State and who still serves as the Superintendent Commissioner of that Ministry, thanked SERI for the visit and for the work it has been doing in the State. He explained that his experience in demand-driven governance has been that when communities are given the opportunity to choose projects that they want the Government to provide for them, they come up with a wish list.

Beginning from the 2017 budget the SSG said the Government plans to demand that communities recommend to the Government just one project that they want and that a ceiling of say ten or twenty billion naira would be placed as the cost of such projects.

He enjoined SERI to incorporate into its survey of project implementation in the state indications of what the people think of the government’s performance so as to enable the State Government generate a Citizens’ Scorecard of its stewardship.

In Onyegu’s entourage during the Visit were Programme Officer Jimmy Essiet and Legal/Community Liaison Officer Barrister Chucks Umeh.