BudgIT’s quest to make the budget transparent, straightforward and accessible to the man on the street has gotten a shot in the arm in Ogun State, where on 107.1 Sweet FM, Office of the Citizen airs.
Office of the Citizen is a weekly live call-in show that looks at the 2016 budget, as well as projecting insights from 2017. The show takes place in the capital of Ogun State, Abeokuta although some listeners on the outskirts of Lagos State say they get the station. Content is provided by Tracka, BudgIT’s project tracking platform.
The show is bilingual. “I speak in English, and it is quickly translated to Yoruba if necessary,” Adewole Adejola of Tracka says. “This makes it more accessible to the local audience- you know it’s in Abeokuta- and it’s a Yoruba town, so we want to reach as many people in the locality as possible.”
Adejola represents BudgIT on air, breaking down the facts and explaining budget items to the audience. He is also joined by a local Project Tracking Officer (PTO) who provides more insight into the local projects. “He’s there and knows the local culture and projects more than I do.” “It is a show for the grassroots.”
The show, rather than looking at national and state budget items, instead looks at constituency projects- that is projects nominated by a legislator for a local community. Office of the Citizen looks at projects promoted by Ogun State’s Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly.
The show alerts citizens about what should be coming to them in their communities. It brings mismanagement, under-delivered projects and non-completed projects into public view. “In some communities, they were promised five boreholes, but only three were delivered; in others, schools that were built are already falling apart due to cheap materials in the foundation. Office of the Citizen brings these issues to light and educates the public and allows them to have a voice in also exposing these things.
“People are not aware of what is meant for them according to the budget. This thing should be open but they are not aware, and this show is hopefully meeting those challenges.”
Office of the Citizen is a joint initiative of BudgIT, and Enough is Enough Nigeria (EIE). It airs on Sweet FM 107.1 Abeokuta on DAY at TIME