Civil Society Engagement In Nigeria: CONGOs Perspective

by Daisy Abiola Igaga

In 2010, comrades who were inspired by the quest for an egalitarian social order, came together to deepen the space of civil society in Edo State.

In the special meeting of the Board of Trustees and the General Assembly of CONGOs which held February 25, 2021, the Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations was formally adopted as a national organ of civil society collaboration. In other words, drawing from the resolution of that meeting, the constitution was reviewed to accommodate the new identity of CONGOs – Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations of Nigeria. For us this change in identity comes with monumental challenges.

Beginning from this premise, engenders our conscious awakening to the responsibilities that underpin our swearing in and formal inauguration as the 6th Executive Council of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations of Nigeria. We assure all who have given us the mandate to provide leadership for CONGOs that we will not disappoint their expectations in all spheres of our engagement. We assure all members of Conference that this leadership will be guided by the cardinal points of the CONGOs identity. This includes our commitment to transparency, integrity, honesty among others.

We assure member organisations of our commitment to broadening opportunities for all further to specific areas of their thematic focus. We will grow internal harmony as a cardinal to strengthening CONGOs as an institution. To that effect, we will call for a new narrative on the way we are organised and our approach to duties and responsibilities. In those areas where our expression as an institution has been underplayed or undermined, we will evolve a change of perspective.

Resonating in our elevated identity as CONGOs of Nigeria, the level of thought and sophistication in the organisation is expected to attain a new octave. We implore member organisations to always ensure that they inspire, motivate and provide mentorship for those who we are bringing into the house. To that effect, the morality of our individual persons and organisations must enrich the moral endowment of CONGOs. In our conduct, we must uplift the moral content that drives CONGOs to high grounds at the octave of propriety.

For those of us who have been here for three years and beyond serving in various capacities, while we have, no doubt, traded high credentials of positive contributions to the Conference, we have not been perfect in all our ways. To that effect, we offer a humble apology for all our faults. They could be oversights, they could be situations we could not help, they could have arisen from deliberate negligence. We are not dwelling on the reason why. We appreciate that as human beings, we have our own limitation.

With the broadening of our membership and the new dimension of engagement it offers, the scope of discussions and interventions are definitely going to be enlarged. So also, will the rules of engagement of the organisation become more expressive, strict and insisted upon. In all of these, the interest of the organisation must underpin every aspect of our conduct.

Borrowing from our guiding vision, in the next three years, we will ensure that the innards that define strong and coherent institutions are emphasised for CONGOs. The recourse to interpersonal relationship in dealing with institutional matters must give way to true professionalism. We will keep the empowerment trainings of the organisation in continuing implementation. We will implement programmes that enhances the mental upliftment of members as well as their entrepreneurial capabilities.

Like I said in my manifestoes, we will escalate the dimension of civil society engagement in the social space. We will insist on good governance and work with government in strengthening governance as an institution. We will engage intervening development institutions with the vision of appropriately contextualising their programmes in consonance with the idioms of our socio-cultural space.

In all of these, we count on our collective strength to deliver. We assure us all that we will deliver on the mandate of a better organised and more focused CONGOs.

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