144,000 people are benefitting from improved access to clean water, 30,600 from better quality education and 280,000 will benefit from improved road infrastructures across five Local Government Areas of Nigeria. These improvements resulted from increasing the confidence and capacity of citizens and civil society to scrutinise and monitor local government initiatives.
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Context and Key issues
- Despite abundant natural resources and oil wealth, the majority of the inhabitants of the Niger Delta remain in poverty.
- Participation does not play a significant role in local government decision making in the Niger Delta. In all the five Local Government Areas, local government officials were of the opinion that projects were said to reflect the opinions and needs of the local community as expressed in local meetings. However, local people complained that they were rarely involved in the decision-making process stating that local councillors would make decisions with little consultation outside of the local elite.
- Disempowerment of the electorate: the power to appoint and remove a LG Chairman does not reside with the people but with the political elite and thus all decisions about the LGA would similarly be made by the same elite.
- Mirroring the lack of transparency in government, many civil society organizations have become commercialised and politicised, relying on the favour of politicians or business for their influence and even survival.
- In addition to the complex political environment, the Niger Delta in 2008 was extremely volatile. High level of arms and the sense of apparent lawlessness across the Niger Delta compromised the ability of some individuals and civil society organisations to challenge powerful interest groups for fear of possible repercussions.