Rights activist and Abuja based legal practitioner, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has thrown his weight behind a Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of Non-Governmental Organizations regulatory commission.
The public hearing on the Bill is formally organised and widely advertised by the House Committee on Civil Society Organizations and Development Partners, under the chairmanship of Hon. Peter Akpatason, and it is slated for Wednesday and Thursday at the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly.
According to the human rights lawyer as contained in his submitted memorandum made available to the media, he stated: “The establishment of a regulatory body will ensure that NGOs are driven by passion and not by financial inducement which has been the major reasons why many Nigerians have now become emergency NGO founders.
“Today in Nigeria, we have shylock businessmen, traffickers, and dubious individuals whose sole aim is to exploit the public masquerading as owners of NGOs and labeling themselves as activists thereby using this medium to confuse, mislead and defraud unsuspecting members of the public. This ugly trend must be checked and that is why I agree with this Bill which seeks to separate the wheat from the chaffs.”
Ajulo, however, cautioned that the Bill should not seek to muzzle the stakeholders or trample on their fundamental rights or infringe on the extant laws of the land.
He said: “While acknowledging that the need to prevent threats to national security within the country is a legitimate one, I however, take the view that the objective needs to be undertaken in a way that does not trample on constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms.
“It is imperative to state that the Non-Governmental Organizations play an increasingly important role in the development cooperation. They can bridge the gap between government and the community. Community-based organizations are essential in organizing poor people, taking collective action, fighting for their rights, and representing the interests of their members in dialogue with NGOs and government.
“NGOs, on the other hand, are better at facilitating the supply of inputs into the management process, mediating between people and the wider political party, networking, information dissemination and policy reform.
“By creating an enabling framework of laws, economic and political conditions, the State can play a fundamental role in helping NGOs and CBOs to play their roles more effectively and as a result increase the access to infrastructure services for the urban poor. Partnerships between all groups should be achieved without ignoring each other’s strengths but make use of each other’s comparative advantage.
“The strength of NGOs, particularly those operating at the field level, is their ability to form close linkages to local communities, and to engender community ownership and participation in development efforts. NGOs often can respond quickly to new circumstances and can experiment with innovative approaches. NGOs can identify emerging issues, and through their consultative and participatory approaches can identify and express beneficiary views that otherwise might not be heard.
“NGOs often are successful intermediaries between actors in the development arena, building bridges between people and communities on one side, and governments, development institutions, and donors and development agencies on the other. In an advocacy role, NGOs frequently represent issues and views important in the dynamics of the development process.
“At the same time, limited technical capacities and relatively small resource bases may characterize some NGOs. NGOs sometimes may have limited strategic perspectives and weak linkages with other actors in development. NGOs may have limited managerial and organizational capacities. In some countries, the relationship between NGOs and government may involve political, legal, ideological, and administrative constraints. Because of their voluntary nature, there may be questions regarding the legitimacy, accountability, and credibility of NGOs and their claims as to mandate and constituencies represented. Questions sometimes arise concerning the motivations and objectives of NGOs, and the degree of accountability NGOs accept for the ultimate impact of policies and positions they advocate.”
While emphasizing on why founding of NGOs or civil societies should be driven by passion, Ajulo used himself as an example, explaining that the sudden death of his only male child in a car crash informed the founding of Master Kayikunmi Kayode-Ajulo Memorial Foundation.
Besides, he is also the founder of Egalitarian Mission For Africa and Sure Steps Africa.
They are all funded by him.
Ajulo said: “My passion for safety awareness against road traffic clash was borne out of the demise of my son, Master Kayikunmi Kayode-Ajulo, a 7-year old boy and only son who died in a car crash which occurred on September 30, 2017. This regrettable occurrence could have been averted where there is full compliance with regulations with regards to usage of seat belt and child safety belt.
“Since the painful tragedy, I have refused to allow the dark clouds of master Kayikunmi’s death hold me prisoner. Rather than mourn forever, I took the footprints of the likes of Rachel Sobel of Safe Travel International to stand up against the monster and tragedy called road traffic crash. My focus is to ensure that all relevant agencies particularly the Federal Road Safety Corps commences full enforcement of the provisions of the law stating full usage of all seatbelt and child safety seat in a vehicle amongst other safety measures to prevent unnecessary deaths arising from road accidents.”