A frontline politician and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has stressed the need for a synergy between government and members of the civil society organisations (CSOs).
Lukman, who is the director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), made the assertion on Monday in a press statement released in Abuja.
He noted this was the only way the nation could have a sustainable development.
According to the statement, democracy in Nigeria will improve if Nigerian civil society organisations have a better relationship with the Nigerian government at all levels.
He added that better relations between civil society and government will facilitate and improve government’s engagement with citizens.
Lukman noted that repressive military rule in the past and mutual distrust and dislikes between government and civil society leaders have led to a broken relationship between these two bodies which has led to civil society getting funding from foreign organisations.
“The background of repressive military rule, which made campaigns for human rights and democracy to become the primary focus of the work of civil society, the negative mindset that translates to opposition to Nigerian government is deep-rooted among civil society leaders. Civil society leaders believe that opposition to the government is a requirement for their work.
“On the other hand, government functionaries have contempt for civil society and their leaders.
“A major problem is when being independent from government is applied in a way that blocked relationship with Nigerian government but encourages relationship with foreign governments, which may have similar, or even worse risks that could be interpreted to project Nigerian civil society and their leaders as unpatriotic. Why should relationship with Nigerian government be considered bad, but relationship with foreign governments good?,” he said.
On the way forward, Lukman said there has to be continuous negotiation between the government and civil society organisations and a framework that guarantees the independence of civil society organisations.