Responding to our Social Responsibility?

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

There is always a consternation among the so called carrier politicians and men and women of power at party secretariats and at corridors of state powers, when an ordinary citizen, a non- politician or one in religion, without obvious adherence to any political organisation, makes opinions, asks questions about the state of affairs, or even dares to call the duty bearers to a form of accountability.

One gets the impression from the so-called politicians that such fellows who ask questions or run commentaries about the oddity of affairs of government are simply pock- nosing into what does not concern them. One -good -for nothing politician around us is used to saying 'hat politics and governance are for the politicians while prayers in the churches are for the men on white.' For him men and women on white, and all other persons who do not belong to the class of politicians of their own definitions are not entitled to ask questions or demand public accountability from those entrusted with the duty of managing the state craft.

But nothing can be misleading as such warped opinions of such half-baked duty bearers. In fact, such men and women as these do not know that the mandate of governance belongs to the people. They do not appreciate the reality that there will be no state and its powers if the people do not so desire. Neither do they value the fact that every human person is a political animal. Non-card- carrying members of political parties are not strangers in their own society and state. Of course, membership of a particular political party or non-membership is a choice.

Given the various interests, life styles, vocations and aptitude, it is not possible for every member of the society to belong to one party or the other. Yet their status and dignity as bonafide citizens shall never be called to question. That is to say, their citizenship status does not depend on their belonging to one Kangaro political organisation or the other. Neither does their non-membership of political parties pose any hindrance to their being involved in the ebb and flow of the activities of government.

Rather than shying away from active participation in political matters, good citizens are obliged to be neck-deep involved in the affairs of government. This is the meaning and significance of the concept of social responsibility in the context of governance. Yes, it is ineluctable that citizens of a state be involved and informed about the affairs of government. It is both their rights and obligations.

No citizen is excluded from being involved except one who excludes oneself in error. After all, power belongs to the people and all those in possession of power for the state are holding such in trust. The sovereign mandate of government does not belong to the ones at the helms of state affairs, it belongs to the people. And that is a good justification that any citizen of a state regardless of his or her status in partisan politics reserves the right to hold his or her opinion and ask relevant questions about what concerns him or her most in governance.

It is never an intrusion. It is rather a bounden duty of a good citizen to be informed and involved in the affairs of one's state. Is it any wonder in our society that the impunity and profligacy among our representatives in government arise as a result of people's indifference to the activities of government? The si tuation is quite different in other developed and developing nations, where the people are more conscious of their rights and the servant status of the people at the secretariats of state powers.

Is it not sufficiently embarrassing for instance, that we read every month from our national Newspaper publications of distribution details of revenue allocations to state and local government councils by the Federation Account Allocation Committee? Yet, people in these offices of trust at both state and local governments continue to deny the reality of such public information. The ordinary citizens of this country are therefore confused. We do not know whom to believe. Yes, we do not know who is telling the truth.

If the Revenue Allocation Committee of the Federal Ministry of Finance, for instance, tells us in the Guardian Newspaper of Friday September 4, 2015 in page 55 (5) that the 17 local government councils of Enugu state has a total of N2,305,321,750.66 allocation for the month of July 2015 shared in August 2015 and Nsukka local government council has therefrom N166,132,587.31, who is then fooling who? If the Allocation did not come and the Ministry of Finance publish that it was allocated, can the receiving councils as part of their bounden statutory responsibility to the people not petition the said Ministry? Or are the councils playing out a script?



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