Put Nigeria First; Adesola Charges Civil Society Organizations

By: Emmanuel Tortiv

The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been charged to always put the interests of the nation first in all its activities. 

Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola, gave this charge at the first National Stakeholders Summit against the misconduct of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria at the Nigeria Army Resource Centre in Maitama District, Abuja, Friday.

The Permanent Secretary said that a situation where Civil Society Organizations are used against the collective interests of country is unpatriotic. 

Adesola, who was the Chairman of the occasion described the theme of the Summit ‘Operating with Integrity and professionalism for Effective Advocacy in Nigeria: the Panacea for a New Face of CSOs’ as apt, considering the huge number of CSOs with limited value addition to the conversations on National rebirth and development.

The Permanent Secretary bemoaned the act of propagating total falsehoods and unverified information which fuels divisionism in the country. 

His words: “Regrettably, most CSOs now roam the corridors of public and political Offices brandishing over-copied, faded copy of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2011, seeking all forms of information for the sole purpose of obtaining official documents that would be employed to malign and extort for monetary gains.”

“Another set of these CSOs specialize in promoting regional, sectarian and or religious division amongst the populace….Under the guise of championing “their people’s right, they propagate and promote hatred and violence amongst the populace. Sadly enough, the process these hate promoters end up enriching themselves and their cronies,” he lamented. 

Recounting some of the positive contributions made by CSOs in the past, the Permanent Secretary lauded the significant role played by Civil Society Organizations which assisted the Federal Government in resolving the P & ID case which saved the country from potential bankruptcy.

He also praised the role played by CSOs which resulted in the restoration of democracy on May 29, 1999 while similarly giving a pass mark to the National Council for CSOs for living up to their calling.

Adesola, thus, called on participants at the Summit to explore strategies aimed at effectively regulating CSOs as well as proffering stiff sanctions against offending individuals and groups; saying “we at the FCT Administration do not receive mails from any Organization whose Registered Company Number is not clearly stated on its letterhead and the name of its promoters conspicuously stated on it.”    

Highlight of the event was an award of patriotism as “partners of civil society organizations in Nigeria” presented to the Permanent Secretary for his outstanding contributions to Public Service.