Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

IF AND ONLY IF

Today May 4th, 2009 if I can board a bus without staying at the Bus stop for one hour and without the payment of unannounced hundred percent increase in transport fare due to fuel scarcity in a Nigeria that is ranked 12th among oil producing countries and 8th among oil exporting countries.

If I can enjoy a 24 hour uninterrupted power supply once in three consecutive months, if I can travel from Lagos to Benin, two great cities in Nigeria without loosing my three months old pregnancy to potholes on our so called express roads.

If I can enter into the 13th floor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to demand for a copy of the report on FADAMA project, even at the payment of a token without being threatened to be thrown out through the window.

If I can be granted entrance into the force Headquarter of Nigeria Army and on request be given the list of Nigerian soldiers who lost their lives in Liberia war.

If my sister can be admitted on merit into a Nigerian University of her choice to read a course of her choice without thinking about the allotment of slots to power that be.

If a four year old girl can be treated freely of Malaria in a country that claims to offer free treatment for 5 year old children and below, if …if ….if … may be there will not be any need for agitation about Freedom to have answers to questions concerning Nigerians.

Section 39 of Nigeria Constitution guarantees every person the right to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference BUT it does not specifically provide for a right of access to public information.

Many laws at the federal and state levels prohibit the disclosure of information under pain of sanctions (Imprisonment and fines) therefore Nigeria has official secret act, criminal code etc there is no Freedom of Information law that guarantees citizens access to information records or documents held by institutions. This situation has produced a custom of secrecy in governance.

Any democracy devoid of information will suffocate; moreover, an administration with hidden actions excludes the citizenry from contributing meaningfully in the affairs of their society. On the other way round, it allows incompetence, extravagance and fraud to reign.

Most often, public business are conducted in secret far from the eyes of the people as if it is a family affair and masses are treated as enemies of the government. The official information treated as their property, rather than what is held and maintain on behalf of the people.

All government official are obliged upon assuming office to subscribe to an oath of secrecy.. I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal any matter to any person…… in the discharge of my official duties…….or as may be permitted by the President. Nigerians remain in the dark about issues concerning them and in situation when a request is made even for academic research purposes the answer to the request comes years later when it might be useless and in most cases it is denial of information.

Informed Nigerian came up with the Freedom of Information Bill over ten years ago, the essence of the Bill provides that notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, Law or Regulation, every citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has a legally enforceable right to, and shall be given access to any record under the control of a government or public institution. Record of the National Assembly of Nigeria indicate that the Bill was sent to the immediate past President of Nigeria on March 16, 2007 for president assent, the constitution gave the President 30 days to assent to a Bill from the National Assembly or signify that he refuses assent. The former president claimed the Bill was never sent to him.

This controversy about the whereabouts of the Bill was laid to rest one year the past president left office, despite claiming not to have seen the Bill, he gave reasons on two occasions why he could not sign it into law (April 26, 2007 when he received a team of Civil Society Organizations and when he featured on a National television program on May 20, 2007). This was the Bill he denied not seeing. Accountability, Openness and Transparency are ingriedients of a Delectable Democracy.

The present President said he intends to sign the Bill into Law when it finally comes before him, my opinion does not owe water, but the first one claimed he did not see it when Senators sent the Bill, the present one is ready to sign but the Senate refused to send to him. There is an adage in my village that says, two people do not lose out on lies if the liar does not know that he is telling a lie, the listener will surely know that the person talking is deceiving him/her. Time will tell because we are never tired of waiting.

Nigerians masses are so used to suffering that when our leaders are performing their normal duties it looks as if they are doing us great favors an example is just seeing a new erected street light pole though without bulb talk less of light, people will be jubilating that government is working. Happenings around us confirm that Nigerian leaders have strange blood running in their veins. May God Bless Nigerian Women and Children with long lives to witness genuine democracy.

Comments

ENIE NDOH CECILE's picture

Congrats!

My dear friend and sister i wish to Congratulate you for being selected as one of the Correspondents for VOF.
I knew since i did not do the first assignment because my computer screwed up, and then the tightness of the competition i did not stand a chance.
I have no regrets since i still have an opportunity to post.

All the best and love

olutosin's picture

Thanks

My Sister,

Thanks, I did not know that you did not write the first assignment, but I am glad that you are brilliant and with endless opportunity.

Love you always,

Olutosin

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

ENIE NDOH CECILE's picture

Same Here

You always have kind words, thanks and goodluck.

Lots of Love and hugs

olutosin's picture

Best of God to You

You are precious to me sister, I wish you God's luck
Olutosin

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Nelly2.0's picture

Go girl!

First and foremost, congratulations for making it as a correspondent, you rock girl! Secondly, all what you described in you entry is pretty much the same thing that happens in Cameroon, my country and your neighbor. I just wonder how long our leaders think they can remain blind to the sufferings of their sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers.

Once again, go girl!
Nelly

olutosin's picture

Thanks my sister

Dear Sister,

Thanks for the message, but I do not think that our leaders count us as their children, sister, aunt, cousin or otherwise, if their dogs have more value than me in a country where most dogs eat on the gabbage, and they are waiting for me to eat on the gabbage before they believe that it is hard for the common man, then they are not our relatives.

For every step they take it bounces back on the masses, yet they do not care, how are we related to them, may God touch their hearts to realise that though we are called common man but special being in the sight of our creator.

Love you sister,

Olutosin

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

womenspace's picture

CAMBODIA: Ordinary Women Can Make a Difference

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative