Raphael Ede, Enugu
The management of African Heritage Institution, Afri-Heritage, a think-tank institution, Enugu State, has charged the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), as well as the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to strive to bring about positive changes in the society.
Executive Director, Afri-Heritage, Prof. UFO Okeke-Uzodike, gave the charge, on Wednesday, at a one-day engagement forum for CSOs and NGOs organised by the Institution in Enugu.
Uzodike said that the way most civil society organisations are going, it would be difficult for them to make the needed impact in the society, just as he noted that positive change could only come by working for it and not wishing it.
“We seems to talk. We come together, we interact and we discuss to continue with life as usual. Change is not going to happen unless something happens. The only way to bring about positive change is really by working,” he said.
Though the civil society organisations do not have the formal mandate to effect change in the society because they were not elected to do so, however they have the moral mandate, a responsibility they cannot shy away from, the Executive Director explained.
Blaming the civil organisations for not doing enough to galvanise the people for positive change in Nigeria, Uzodike said that most of them are too weak to effect any change because some of them lacked focus and do not have definitive agenda to make things happen.
“Some CSOs are weak, under prepared to do what they are supposed to be doing. Collectively, CSOs in Nigeria is weak because they have not harnessed the inherent authority of being a civil society organisation.
“They have a very important responsibility but because of the highly fractionalized way the CSOs operate, they are not able to to set their agenda. They are too weak to influence events.
“They should come together and work together to move the society and make the system work,” he suggests.
On the 2019 general elections, Prof. Uzodike said that CSOs are imperative to making a change for 2019, pointing out that INEC has not been utilising the organisations well to ensure free, fair and credible elections.