BY ANDREW ESSIEN ABUJA
Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman has canvassed for the funding of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) by the federal government, saying that it was in the overall interest of citizens.
He also stressed that both parties must shift from their combative view of each other and work for the people from whom they derived relevance.
In a statement he released in Abuja, Lukman maintained that for too long the CSOs have held tightly to their antagonistic view of government as bad, a throwback from the pro-democracy struggles of the ’80s where the government is perceived as anti-people.
the same token government, he said has inadvertently reciprocated the gesture in what seems a mutually assured dislike.
He maintained that an improved relationship between government and civil society is the sine qua non to improved welfare for the people in a democracy.
He condemned a situation where Nigerian CSOs would freely accept donor funds from foreign governments and entities but vehemently rejects such support from the Government.
According to him to poor funding of the CSOs have largely undermined the capacity of the CSOs which he said have become small bureaucracies.
“The problem of poor relations between the Nigerian government and civil society has produced a combination of poor funding and very weak organisations of civil society in the country.
“In terms of poor funding, although, there are possibilities, which can include access to portions of corporate social responsibility funds provided by big corporations in the country, these are funds that are only made available to some few organisations that may have even been formed with the active support of the government, whose mission may be anything but altruistic.
“Therefore, capacity or competence of the organisations that access some of the available local funding to deliver services may be questionable. Substantially, access to corporate social responsibility funds could provide an opportunity to create legitimate sources of financial support for the work of Nigerian civil society.