AUSTIN OMO OYIBODE, EDITOR
An advocate and promoter of civic intelligence in Nigeria, Lady Ejiro Umukoro, has called for a paradigm shift from situations where Nigerians stand aloof watching situations getting worse in the country but rather Nigerians should stand up, speak out and be solution providers to the myriad of problems in the country.
Lady Umukoro spoke when she presented a paper titled: “Civic Intelligence, the missing link to Nigeria’s democratic future” as a guest speaker at a forum organized by Young African Leaders Initiative, held in Asaba, the Delta state capital at the weekend.
In the event, which was majorly attended by youths and whose focus was making Nigerian votes count in the forth coming 2019 elections, Umukoro told the youths that anti-democratic tendencies which undermine the values of a good and decent society should not be condoned by Nigerians who are desirous of reaping the dividends of good governance.
She said: “When we see manifestations of anti-democratic values, what we get is a disjoined society plagued with unending social issues, political crisis, economic displacement, insecurity, lack of trust, poor governance and low standards of existence.”
Umukoro, a fellow of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and who has undertaken several investigative reports, explained that Nigerians should devote their intelligence into providing solutions to issues of public importance, stressing that such actions are geared towards creating engagements and influence for the betterment of society.
Noting that no Nigerian should remain aloof while society degenerates, she said: “And everyone is a part of the system because each one’s disregard for, or respect for societal values, contributes to the existence of a problem or prevention of a problem or solving a problem.
“So, our ability to not only perceive social issues or problems around us but also making the conscious decision to think of ways of tackling them in a just and sustainable manner shows civic intelligence.
“The more civic responsible we are, the more as a collective society, we can cope with or solve social issues like child rape, political thuggery, electoral violence, economic crisis, weaponisation of information, while at the same time figuring out how to lessen or avoid the next incidence. Civic intelligent people are not silent observers, they are not aloof, disinterested or unconcerned, they are involved as part of solution providers.”
She added: “Uncivic behavior is the reason Nigeria is not as progressive as it should be. Uncivic behavior is not limited to illiterates as many schooled persons and people who live in posh houses have been found exhibiting such dispositions.”
Umukoro said civic intelligence is about individuals and voices of people collectively solving social issues and problems of society, governance, environment, human rights security, entrepreneurship, public and community service in an intelligent and solution driven mindset.
She said for the success of society, the government and the governed must have strong civic intelligence to make the society effectively work for the good of all members, noting that the governed must be constructive followers who are engaged in constructive solution generation.
For her, civic intelligence is aimed at finding solution to the myriads of problems facing society rather than allowing them to degenerate to the extent of leading to breakdown of law and order.
“Civic education therefore encompasses strong advocacy through community networks in public spheres that promote civic intelligence through democratic means and activist networks using every available tool to communicate a call to action, engagement, participation in a continuous circle of involvement.”