Obviously inspired by the international standards he has been exposed to in his many years of missionary and academic sojourn overseas, a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Imo State, Rev. Fr. Godswill Agbagwa, has moved to change the poor state of public health and education delivery in the area. He said he would employ a grassroots platform, Local Government Good Governance Monitor (LGGM), to achieve his aim.
Based in America, he strived towards building the capacity of 190 youths in the South East through training: “This is realizable because two trainers will be picked from each of the 95 local councils in the zone.
“The cardinal goal of the project is to promote civic engagement by mobilizing the trained LGGM champions to track, monitor and inspire conversation on the government delivery of public health and education at the LGA level. The LGA is the third tier of government in Nigeria.
“It is the closest government to the citizens and access point to government services. The LGGM project focuses its activities in all 95 local government areas in the South East.
“We are convinced that advancing efficient and inclusive delivery of primary public health and education in the South East can dramatically and sensationally change so many things for the better. Our aim is not really to condemn or praise. We want to raise awareness on primary health and education.
“For instance, in a public dispensary in a ward anywhere in the South East, is there supposed to be a medical doctor? If yes, for how long? That is, eight hours or 12 hours or what? At that health centre, how many nurses or health workers are right to report to duty daily?
“In a public primary school in a community, how many pupils are by law allocated to a class? We have learnt it is 35 maximum. Thus, in a situation where there are 45 pupils in a class, what do we? Where do we go; where do we complain? Again, how many toilets are designed for a public primary school in a community? The authorities concerned said it is two.
“The data we are collecting is very informative and educative because it helps the public to know and understand the provision of the law on a particular matter. You can attest to the fact that most times we blame the government even when it is right.
“I was amazed to know that the required number of pupils allowed by the law of primary education in Nigeria is 35. Before I thought it should be between 20 and 25! In effect, we want to create an avenue for the society to really understand and appreciate where and how it can come in for an effective delivery in public health and education.
“For effective delivery, this project will be carried out in sequential steps covering capacity building – the recruited 190 passionate youths, two from each of the 95 LGAs are trained to monitor public health and primary education at their respective council levels. Two, tools will be provided for these youths to track and follow the quality as well as accessibility of the national free public education and universal access to healthcare. We also have citizen engagement, performance evaluation of the various LGAs.”