Wednesday, 24 July 2013

News Release: Challenges Facing NGOs In Nigeria And The Rest Of The World

Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi 
It is indeed a season of international recognition and merit awards to the family and friends of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety). First was Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi who successfully participated in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program on “NGO Management”-class of June 2013. The program, designed  for NGO leaders, staff and volunteers as well as those  working for social and business enterprises and government institutions ; for the advancement of their professional skills and international exposure;  covered educational and cultural exchange sessions, workshops, under graduate, graduate and post graduate level tutorials in over eight US universities on non-profits in USA, etc; visits to respected think tanks like Center for Strategic International Studies-CSIS; lectures on US democracy and struggles for civil rights movements; sightseeing; visits to White House and Capitol Hill, to mention but few. In all, six States including Washington DC, Washington State, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan and Missouri were covered in the three weeks intensive and extensive program.

As the jubilation dust that heralded Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi’s historic participation  and return to his beloved country was yet to settle, another friend of Intersociety, Ms Amaka Biachi-Nwosu, wife of our dear friend,  late Comrade Chidi Nwosu; slain chairman of the Campaign for Democracy, Southeast zone, who was gruesomely murdered by suspected State agents  in Abia State, Southeast Nigeria; was included in the list of participants in the same program ongoing in the United States of America-class of July/August 2013. Late Comrade Chidi Nwosu was assassinated in his residence in Abia State in December 2009. Ms Amaka Biachi’s name was included in the team of Intersociety that played host to the US Consular General and his team who held a meeting with us during his visit to Anambra State in 2011, which led to her recommendation and nomination. Madam Biachi-Nwosu was recommended and nominated by our organization to keep the struggle with which her late beloved husband was known for, alive.

 ” The choice and inclusion of Ms Amaka Nwosu in the prestigious program is not only a plus for Intersociety but also a great psychological reprieve to her because it is likely that she is still traumatized by way and manner her beloved husband was battered and murdered in her presence three and a half years ago”-says Emeka Umeagbalasi today in Onitsha Nigeria. “It is a great cure and a psychological recovery for a woman who may not be far from the confines of post traumatic stress  and shock arising from Comrade Chidi Nwosu’s wicked murder”-further says  Emeka Umeagbalasi, our Board Chairman and Comrade-in-Charge .

Another great friend of Intersociety and a popular nominee for Intersociety board membership, Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin, who heads the Campaign for Democracy in Nigeria and founded Women Arise for Change; had earlier in March 2013 been awarded a prestigious International Woman of Courage; an award giving to its meritorious recipients annually by the US Secretary of State. Dr. Joe Odumakin, who teaches in various universities in Ghana, Dubai-UAE and Nigeria,  has four other international awards this year to her credit. She is also an alumnus of International Visitors Leadership Program of the US State Department-class of August 2008. These are great honors to Intersociety family and friends and we thank the US State Department and the US Embassy in Nigeria for finding us meritorious and worthy. We promise to keep the flag of struggle flying without ceasing and season.


Lessons & Expectations:
One of the great lessons learnt from the prestigious program is strong partnership and collaborative culture existing between the government of US and non-profits organizations in efforts to develop  and sustain the US society, unlike in Nigeria where cat and mouse relationship still beclouds the government and the non-governmental organizations. There are about 1.5 million non-profits in USA including social enterprises and religious bodies. The IVLP is instituted and funded by the US Government but organized by selected and reputable non-profit establishments on behalf of the US Government.  Another great lesson is the giving culture of US citizens despite her country’s social stresses arising from economic meltdown. This is opposed to give me culture in Nigeria. In 2012 alone, American citizens made a total donation of &312 Billion to charities.

The third great lesson is the success story of the US State Department’s  International Visitors Leadership Program, which is subdivided into NGO management, volunteerism, financial crimes, international law and diplomacy, entrepreneurship, to mention but a few.  Since 1963 when the prestigious program was instituted, over 50,000 international societal agents of change have participated, out of which, 325 have ascended to plum political leadership positions in their countries. One of such world leaders who participated in the prestigious IVLP is the current Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping who participated in the program 27 years ago. Mr. Jinping became his country’s president and chairman of the central military council via China’s National Peoples’ Congress in May 2013. Great lessons learnt from the program are inexhaustible but will be featuring in our subsequent messages to the world.

On the issue of expectations, our experiences from the formidable trip shall be reformative, transformative and constructive in application.  We now have a reformed vision, mission, values, motto and programs. We have also adopted two basic programs of democracy & good governance and peace & security.  Our democracy & good governance involves popular elections and electoral reforms, accountability in public governance and anti abuse of office. On the other hand our Peace & Security involves security & safety and alternative dispute resolution. Our reformed profile will be made public in a couple of days. It is also available at Intersociety-ng.org.  

Though the first international NGO was Anti-Slavery International formed in 1839 but the post Second World War NGOs were created into existence for the betterment of the lives of the immediate and larger societies they work for. That is to say that NGO works that do not impact positively and directly on the grassroots are ballooned and evaporative. Any NGO that disconnects itself and works from the grassroots exists only to enrich professorial, doctoral and other academic students in their research libraries and laboratories. Such an NGO is dead on arrival. NGO leadership is more than local, national, regional and international workshops and seminars’ attendance, benefiting from academic scholarships and obtaining chains of academic degrees and wooden object awards. It is also more than mastership in coining programs that disembowel fat grants’ vaults in Europe and North America.

Sadly, many of the NGOs including over 40,000 recognized by the UN and millions of others operating in 193 independent countries around the world have lost focus of the very idea behind the invention of NGO. In Nigeria, for instance, 60 percent of founding members of Nigeria’s rights NGOs are from the Southeast zone of the country but domiciled in Lagos, yet the zone still parades the most visionless and tainted elected political officials in the country. The zone’s political landscape and leadership are still dominated by political rogues and brigands. With the exception of Anambra and Imo States, fought for and liberated by few radical NGOs in the zone, others are governed by those with crooked electoral mandates. This is because many of Nigeria’s NGOs are evaporative, academic and ballooned

Despite having access to best technical expertise and funders in Europe and North America, they may be best described as “professors and doctorate degrees holders without students and constituency classrooms”. They are seen as “libertarian rights activists” who are far from “egalitarian rights activism”. They are also like an average Nigerian clergy man that prays outwardly for solutions to social problems but prays fervently inwardly for such problems not to go so that deliverance tithes tied to the problems will not seize coming into his pocket. Granted that an NGO is a “nimble” and a competent social evaluator, which analyses creatively with innovative ideas, but messages of NGOs must reach the grassroots and get them better informed to make themselves active members of the society. This explains why our motto is “taking the civil liberties & the rule of law campaigns to the grassroots for direct impact and betterment of their lives”. Intersociety; without fear of being accused of boastfulness, is one of the most grassroots-oriented NGOs in Nigeria. We are also an unrepentant messenger of “no democracy & good governance, no human rights”!

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi,
Chairman of the Board
+234(0)8033601078, 8180103912

Comrade Justus Ijeoma,
Head, Publicity Desk
+234(0)37114869


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