For several years, Nigeria was referred to as a country in transition to democracy. Its history of long rule of military dictatorships and short interludes of democratic governance has previously defined citizen's reactions and engagement with government. On May 29, 2015, Nigerians witnessed the inauguration of the fifth consecutive democratically elected government since 1999. The 2015 Elections also saw a moment of paradigm shift in political participation and civic engagement by the Nigerian polity. During the elections, citizen-led accountability efforts to ensure a free and fair election were widespread on social media, as well as physical monitoring of votes collation at polling units.
Never in recent history, have Nigerians shown the commitment to protect their votes in collating and sharing of electoral evidence, engaging public officials on different media platforms and formation of grassroots efforts. The expectations from the Nigerian citizenry are high and the most important of factors fueling these is the demographic bulge in Nigeria, where 62.5% percent of the national population is under the age of 241. They have witnessed the powers of citizen-propelled revolution from the Arab spring, the end of former military dictatorships in Africa, and other instances of citizens' power in electing leaders. The Nigerian polity is changing and will demand accountability, effective and efficient service delivery and a government that is responsive to citizens' demands.
This political awareness is occurring in tandem with increasing rates of unemployment (23.9%- 2011 estimates)2, a dearth of basic infrastructures in several states, widespread civil unrest and a high incidence of poverty (48.9%- 2004 figures)3. Therefore, political office holders and administrators of public service delivery agencies need to creatively engage with development challenges that impacts on their capacity for governance. This is especially critical in a polity heated by rising dissatisfaction with political institutions and frustrations from economic deprivations. This pressure on improved governance is felt most at the sub-national level. It is in response to the need to rethink and explore how to tackle development and governance challenges at the sub-national level in Nigeria that TLFirst Gov is hosting this Roundtable Forum. We are expecting no more than 30 participants representing a combination of government officials, policy makers, development agencies, service delivery organisations, civil societies and individual members of the public. The event will hold on Thursday 21st September, 2017 at TLFirstGov, 10A Yobe Close, off Yedseram Street, Maitama, Abuja; from 10am to 1pm.
References 1 http://www.indexmundi.com/nigeria/demographics_profile.html 2 http://www.indexmundi.com/nigeria/unemployment_rate.html 3 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.NAHC/countries/NG?display=graph