By Angela Atabo
The Connected Development (CODE) and Mohammed Bello-El-Rufai are collaborating toward promoting transparency, accountability and to deepen citizens’ engagement in constituency projects.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bello-El-Rufai is a Member, Federal House of Representatives, representing Kaduna North Federal Constituency.
Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja on Wednesday, to promote citizens’ interest in government spending and curb corrupt practices in the implementation of constituency projects in Kaduna North Federal Constituency.
Bello-El-Rufai, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Banking Regulations, said he entered into the partnership as an advocate for transparency to build trust in his constituents.
“We as a country have a history of corruption, regardless of party, regardless whether it is a democracy or military regime, Nigeria continuously ranks not so well on the corruption index.
“So the way to tackle that is to give civil society a chance.
This is the right thing to do for the people I represent, for my own sanity, and to check my own humanity.
“With this out there.
Wherever a project comes, we earmark it, we see the figure and the CODE team on ground in my constituency will be there tracking the job.
“That way, any of us that are even tempted to do what is wrong will not because the recording of this MoU signed to commit to transparency and accountability would be played and I will look like an idiot.
Bello-El-Rufai expressed his desire to also be an advocate, lobbying so that other members of the House would do the same.
He said he picked CODE for partnership to be able to deliver the dividends of democracy to his constituents and called on fellow members to reach out to other agencies to get their jobs done and ensure proper tracking.
He said it was imperative for members to do it, “this is what we have to do to ensure members know what they do and to gain public trust.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of CODE and the Founder of Follow the Money, said history was made by signing the MoU compelling CODE and a sitting House of Representatives Member to work jointly.
According to Lawal, the partnership will compel the parties to build an adopted tool to nominate constituency projects that depicts the needs and aspirations of the constituents.
“After this, money will be earmarked and released for implementation.
We have also agreed in the document that we will jointly monitor the utilisation of these funds, engaging his constituents.
“Most importantly, when he has constituency meetings, we will also be there to monitor and observe how he engages his constituents at the local level.
“Tis is to ensure that whatever he brings to the floor of the National Assembly reflects the wishes and aspirations of his people.
Lawal said that CODE had enjoyed support from the MacArthur Foundation for the past five years in Kaduna state working around education, healthcare, access to water sanitation and hygiene but most importantly, deepening citizens’ engagement in government processes.
He said that the MoU was proof that truly, lawmakers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) could work together to ensure citizens enjoy the dividends of democracy.
He called on other lawmakers to follow suit.
“Our hope is that Honourable Bello-El-Rufai will lead the change on the floor of the green chambers to get all the lawmakers to even institutionalise it.
“The speaker should adopt a motion that they will work with CODE and Follow the Money to ensure that all lawmakers will use this tool to nominate projects and jointly track them with CSOs and their constituents,” he said.
Edited by Ese E.
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