A non-governmental organisation, the Inspiration Care and Development Centre (ICDC), has trained no fewer than 30 youths to monitor and track government projects across the 16 local government areas of Ekiti State.

The two-day training tagged’The F Fiscal Transparency Champions (FTCs) Capacity Building Workshop’brought together the selected youths in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, under the Beta Government Project, funded by LEAP Africa and the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF).

The Executive Director of ICDC, Lawrence Olowolayemo, explained that the training focused on enhancing participants’ skills in project tracking, open contract processes, and advocacy strategies to promote transparency and accountability at the local government level.

He called on the state government to revisit the Open Government Partnership in the state by inaugurating a new state steering committee to drive forward the process in Ekiti State.

He said, “Financial transparency training is part of the OGP implementation plans, which ICDC is also working on to implement by empowering youth at the community level with relevant skills and resources to monitor government projects at the grassroots and provide positive feedback for the benefit of all citizens.

“In a democratic society, the local government plays a crucial role in society because it’s the closest level of government to the people.

“It directly addresses the needs and concerns of communities, from managing local infrastructure and services like roads, parks, and schools to regulating zoning and land use.

“Additionally, local governments foster civic engagement and democracy by providing opportunities for citizens to participate in decision-making processes that affect their everyday lives. When citizens are empowered at this level, it will strengthen local communities to prosper and deliver #BetaGovernment to the people.”

An official from the Ekiti State Bureau of Public Procurement, Samuel Ogundare, provided the Fiscal Transparency Champion with practical skills on how to access government procurement data.

A professor of sociology at Ekiti State University, Professor Christopher Oluwadare, who spoke on ‘Youth Organising for Change,’ stressed the need for inclusive governance at the local government level, highlighting that “empowering citizens to demand better governance enhances the dividends of democracy.”