#ThursdayTalks which started in March 2018 is a monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens which aims to drive conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship.

It is organized by EiE Nigeria and BudgIT with The Cable as the media partner.

Every last Thursday of each month, active citizens meet to discuss wide-ranging issues on governance and politics. 


Thursday Talks is a monthly online conversation that explores issues affecting Nigerians and the country.

The October edition was moderated by Lanre Olusola, a psychologist and mental health advocate.

Speaking during the conversation, Debo Adedayo, the Nigerian comedian better known as Mr Macaroni, narrated how he was arrested and brutalised by police officers during the #OccupyLekkitollgate protest in February 2021.

“It got to a point one of the guys (referring to the police officers) said to me that I’m the one disturbing the state governor,” he said.

“That is one thing I will never forget in my entire life and for that, I will always hold the governor accountable because the police officer said it to me.

“That means you are telling me that what you are doing, you are doing it on behalf of so and so.”

Jide Ahmed (not real names), a victim of police brutality during the #OccupyLekkitollgate protest, said the incident negatively affected his mental health, adding that it was a tough and traumatic experience.

Another victim of police brutality identified as Chinyere Eze (not real names) narrated how she was arrested by police officers in 2017 after she received a call that she had a parcel from DHL.

She said she was arrested by the police officers on the pretense of delivering a DHL parcel to her.

Read more >>>

Oluseun Onigbinde, founder and lead director, BudgIT, says he feels pride in the work the organisation has done so far.


September #ThursdayTalks flyer

Onigbinde said this while speaking on the recent edition #ThursdayTalks, a monthly conversation on national issues powered by BudgIT and EIE Nigeria.

The latest edition focused on BudgIT’s impact within Nigeria’s civic-tech space as it marked ten years in existence.

Speaking at the event on Thursday, Onigbinde said when he looks at how much BudgIT has achieved so far, he feels part pride and part disappointment.

“Part pride because of the work we have done and how we’ve been able to make a dent in the issues of Nigeria in terms of how people access the budget, part pride in the projects we’ve delivered for people, setting a time in things like open treasury, holding government into account, putting a household name in terms of branding and how much fund we’ve been able to attract over the years, from international and development partners,” he said.


Read more >>>

Topic: Occupy Your #OfficeOfTheCitizen: Make We Talk Election Mata!


    • Festus Okoye
      • INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman of the Information & Voter Education Committee
    • Tari Taylaur
      • Youth Party Councillorship Candidate
    • Demilade Robert
      • Multi-talent Photographer & Active Citizen
    • Munirat Anto Lecky
      • Media Personality, INEC Youth Ambassador and Humanitarian
    • Tolulope Adeleru-Balogun
      • Journalist, Consultant and Political TV Host



Flyer for July edition of #ThursdayTalks

Munirat ‘Anto’ Lecky, former BBNaija star, has called on influential Nigerians to use their platforms to encourage voter participation during elections.

Anto spoke on Thursday while addressing the topic ‘Occupy Your #OfficeOfTheCitizen: Make We Talk Election Mata!’ during a virtual panel discussion tagged ‘Thursday Talks’.

The virtual conversation, a monthly programme focused on engaging thought leaders, was moderated by Tolu Adeleru-Balogun, a journalist and TV host.

The former BBNaija star said celebrities shouldn’t be forced to speak on every topic because “it’s counter-intuitive, you’ll have some people saying the wrong thing”.

She, however, added that “when it comes to voting every single person of influence — not only celebrities, CEOs — everyone should be saying something”.

“There are some people who don’t have the gumption to stand up and talk on some topics for, and you shouldn’t bully them. I don’t think we should make every single celebrity talk about what they don’t know; it’s counter-intuitive, you’ll have some people saying the wrong thing,” Anto said.

“But I do believe when it comes to voting. It is your right and responsibility as a citizen. I know some people won’t talk about certain topics, but when it comes to voting, every single person of influence — not only celebrities, CEOs — everyone should be saying something.”


Read more >>>

Watch the recording here

Topic: #ThursdayTalks – Is “Freedom of Speech” in Danger in Nigeria?


    • Adegboye Adegoke
      • Senior Program Manager, PIN
    • Osai Ojigho
      • Country Director, Amnesty International, Nigeria
    • Abiodun-Baiyewu
      • Executive Director, Global Rights
    • Nelson Olanipekun
        • Executive Director, Citizen’s Gavel


Osai Ojigho, country director of Amnesty International (AI) Nigeria, says the federal government is “highly sensitive to criticism” and only focuses on appearances.

Ojigho stated this on Thursday while addressing the topic “Is Freedom of Speech in Danger in Nigeria?” during a virtual conversation, tagged ‘Thursday Talks’.

The virtual conversation, which is a monthly programme focused on engaging thought leaders, was moderated by Adeboye Adegoke, senior programme manager at Paradigm Initiative.

The AI country director described the government’s ban on Twitter and its proposed amendment to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) code as attempts to gag criticism.

Read more >>>

Click here to watch the recording

Topic: #ThursdayTalks – Celebrating a Life of Impact


    • Oluseun Ongigbinde
      • BudgIT Director
    • ‘Yemi Ademolekun
      • Executive Director of Enough is Enough (EiE)
    • Audu Osen
      • Coordinator, MAWA Foundation
    • Ayo Obe
      • Former President, Civil Liberties Organisation
    • Kemi Okenyodo
      • Executive Director, Partners West Africa

      April 2021 #ThursdayTalks flyer celebrating Innocent Chukwuma

      “Great men build great legacies, and leave their mark on the hearts of men.”

      This and more can be said of Innocent Chukwuma, who until his demise, was the Director of Ford’s West Africa office, Founder of Cleen Foundation and the inspirer of #ThursdayTalks – a monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents & active citizens on good governance and service delivery. 

      This month’s edition, which was held on April 29, 2021, was in celebration of Late Mr Innocent Chukwuma’s life, social impact and relationships. 

      The guest speakers for the event were close associates of the late activist, such as Oluseun Ongigbinde, BudgIT Director; Yemi Ademolekun, the Executive Director of Enough is Enough (EiE); Audu Oseni, the Coordinator, MAWA Foundation; Ayo Obe, Former President, Civil Liberties Organisation; Kemi Okenyodo, Executive Director, Partners West Africa, amongst other active citizens.

      While speaking about Innocent’s impact within Nigeria’s civic space, Oluseun Onigbinde, BudgIT’s Director, described his life as one that was dedicated to Nigeria’s development.

      “He was a global icon whose life exuded incredible humanity and whose work looms large within the civic space.” he added

      The Former President of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Ayo Obe also recounted how he (Innocent Chukwuma) joined the organisation as a student activist and rendered unfeigned support during her early years as the President of CLO.

      According to Obe, “He joined the CLO and was able to bridge the gap. He helped me find my feet as the President of the organisation while motivating the staff and steering them from where they felt disoriented and demoralised. Innocent made us understand that there is work to be done, and the CLO was the organisation that needed to do it.”

      She further highlighted other lessons learnt from him. 

      “Innocent was ready to put identity aside; defy labels and stereotypes, and confront issues head-on.”

      The Coordinator of MAWA Foundation, Audu Oseni, said the icon’s greatest desire was to see people succeed and he adopted any moral means possible to achieve this feat. 

      Oseni described Innocent as a boss who doesn’t boss anybody.

      “Now that Innocent is gone, who will fill in? He is one person who doesn’t look at anyone as a competitor. He is only concerned with making people succeed. People whom he has had encounters with should work hard to live the legacy he left behind”.

      The Executive Director, Partners West Africa, Kemi Okenyodo, also spoke overwhelmingly of Late Innocent Chukwuma, saying he was a leader that valued and maintained relationships while also emphasising his ability to close the gap and increase the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force.

      “His legacy is on public sector reform. He once told me that leadership is not about knowing how to do everything yourself. Leadership is also about knowing those that can help you get to where you are going and bringing them all together to make that journey.”

      On her part, the Executive Director of Enough is Enough (EiE), Yemi Ademolekun, described the late icon as a mentor and leader who possessed the quality of balancing professional relationships.

      “We did not have a formal mentor-mentee relationship, but a reflection on his death showed that he was one of the few people that I could call for an honest perspective on any situation”

      “It was an honour to have had that type of relationship with him”,  Yemi added.

      Innocent Chukwuma passed on Saturday, April 3, in Lagos after a brief illness. 

      Click here to watch the recording

Topic: #OnePerson: My EiE Journey


    • ‘Yemi Adamolekun
      • Executive Director, Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria
    • Maupe Ogun-Yusuf
      • Co-host, Sunrise Daily on Channels Television

Yemi Adamolekun, executive director of Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, says many Nigerians haven’t realised that they can contact their representatives in the national assembly, let alone demand accountability. 

Adamolekun stated this on Thursday, while celebrating her 10th year as the leader of EiE in a virtual conversation tagged ‘#ThursdayTalks’.

The virtual conversation, which is held monthly to engage thought leaders, was moderated by Maupe Ogun-Yusuf, co-host of Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television.

Adamolekun also noted that culture, religion and the experience of military rule are psychological barriers that influence people’s reluctance to ask politicians hard questions.

Read more >>>

Click here to watch the recording

Topic: Student Unionism 


    • Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa
      • Manager, Civic Hive
    • Oluropo Olugbemi
      • Fmr Member, Student Representative Council, Bowen University
    • Tawakalt Adeola Ahmed
      • First Female Students’ Union President in South West Nigeria

The February session of #ThursdayTalks held on Thursday, February 25th. It was an enlightening conversation with Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa (Manager, Civic Hive), Oluropo Olugbemi (Fmr Member, Student Representative Council, Bowen University) and Tawakalt Adeola Ahmed (First Female Students’ Union President in South West Nigeria) as they discussed Student Unionism in private and public universities.

Topic: Education Financing: What is the Way Forward?. 


    • Oluseun Onigbinde
      • Director, BudgiT
    • Dipo Awojide
      • Founder, BTDT Hub

Dipo Awojide, a senior lecturer in strategy at Nottingham Business School, United Kingdom, says full autonomy is the way to go to address the problem of funding in Nigerian public universities.

Awojide stated this on Thursday, while addressing the topic, “Education Financing: What is the Way Forward?”, in a virtual conversation tagged ‘Thursday Talks’.

The virtual conversation, which is held monthly to engage thought leaders, was moderated by Seun Onigbinde, director of BudgIT, and Yemi Adamolekun, director of Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria.

Speaking at the virtual conversation, Awojide called for full autonomy for public universities in Nigeria, especially in terms of funding and syllabus implementation, adding that government can support through grants.

“I perfectly believe that federal and state universities can be sustainable but they have to be innovative,” he said.

“Our university lecturers want autonomy. They do not want control and taking direction from the federal government, but they want money from the government.

“So, if you want autonomy, full autonomy is the way to go, so you decide what you want to do in terms of the syllabus, you decide how you make your money, you decide how you generate income, and how you spend that money.

“But, of course, the government can give grants to universities; from time to time, the government can support universities. In the UK, universities are fully autonomous and the UK government only just gives grants and supports either when they are struggling.

“I think one of the funding options, going forward, is full autonomy for universities; there are also other options.”

Awojide lamented the negative impact of incessant strike actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the lives of students, and the education sector.

Read more.

Click here to watch the recording


The last four months of 2020 were filled with a beehive of activities – locally and on the international scene – which affected the regularly scheduled Thursday Talks event.

Below is the breakdown of events that took over Thursday Talks

SeptemberBudgIT State of States
OctoberEiE @ 10 with Sam Adeyemi
NovemberNMCG 2020
DecemberThe Future Awards

Catch up on our last newsletter for the year here



“Despite Nigeria’s enormous population, she is one of the most under-policed nations in the world.”

Journalist, David Hundeyin welcomed participants at the August edition of Thursday Talks, with this worry-inducing statement. Spiced with passion and controversy; this edition with the theme Conversations on Security Restructuring, moderated by Communications Consultant; Khadijah Bello, featured Security Consultant, Dennis Amachree, Public Affairs Analyst, Leonard Ebute and Investigative Journalist, David Hundeyin as panellists.

To lay the necessary foundation, Khadijah quizzed the guests on what security restructuring means to them. For Hundeyin, it referred to an essential change in paradigms, stressing that the way we maintain law and order in Nigeria is no longer working; hence the need for a restructuring. He suggested a shift to a less-centralised policing system and the adoption of self as well as state policing. 

Providing a historical background to the state of the policing in Nigeria, Amachree highlighted that the police were formed to protect the colonialists during the colonial rule and upon the advent of independence, the Nigerian police were not reoriented to wear the mindset of service to the people. He explained this as the reason why police members are currently serving the elite and political class. 

So where have we gone wrong with the modern-day Nigerian security? 

Hundeyin, in buttressing Amachree’s viewpoint described the issues with policing in Nigeria as both doctrinal and economic issue, pointing out that reorientation did not take place, hence men of the police think the uniform makes them superior to citizens. In his words, “the police is not your friend.”

Stressing that Nigeria has a significant economic issue; meaning the country can no longer afford to police itself. He, in agreement with Amachree, also suggested community policing.

Can community policing work? Do we have a precedent success story?

The panellists agreed that this was not something that had hardly been attempted in Nigeria before, so we do not know if it would work, but it was still something we should try. Amachree highlighted that even the recently established Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed ‘Amotekun’ is not what it should be.

In the views of the former Department of State Security (DSS) Director, it should be intelligence and community-driven rather than people parading in uniforms. He opined that members of the community; the likes of mechanics and taxi drivers should be mobilised, warning that Nigeria had an intelligence problem and in this age of digitisation, this was an overarching issue.

On political will to tackle insecurity

Public Affairs Analyst, Leonard Ebute, took the conversations to a boiling point as he controversially stated that the federal government’s economic objective has impeded on any security measure. For him, President Buhari should go down in history, as the leader who allowed thousands of Nigerians to die because of his complacency in the matter on the ground. He posited that it seems as though these groups of terrorists were encouraged especially by the lacklustre attitude of the government. 

On the aspect of involving the public better in the issue of security especially since there’s a debate about giving citizens access to information and also ensuring sensitive information are protected, Ebute, in his usual intense fashion, argued that citizens had done more than enough. He highlighted that individuals had organised their forms of security with regards to vigilante groups.

Security and the Edo/Ondo 2020 Elections 

Ebute in explaining how security applies to the electoral process, pointed out that the electoral insecurity is not as bad as it is painted to be, declaring that there are only a few poll booths where there are security breaches, and that’s where the media pays attention to.

In his analysis, he noted that this would eventually lead to voters apathy; as they would continue to think that their votes do not count. He capped off his views by saying politicians have no power in places where they don’t hold influence already.

“You can’t rig places where you are not popular,” he said.

The way forward?

Hundeyin warned against the culture of throwing money at problems, declaring corruption as a serious issue especially as political leaders remain dishonest in accounting for management of the resources of the state.

“A level of accountability needs to be brought into play before there can be any real progress,” he said.

He also spoke on the role of the media in ensuring the progress, laying blame on the governments’ feet. He lamented the situation where they continue to see the media as adversaries instead of equals.

“The government seeks to control the media or label them enemies and this should not be so if we were to make any progress in the nation,” he added.

The point of decentralisation of the police was one proposition brought up several times, seeing as the current model of centralised policing was mostly inefficient. In his closing points however, Amachree pointed out that alongside decentralisation of the police, we need to look to private security establishments and synergise with them. 

The panellists drew an overarching conclusion that security is a collective responsibility and that both the private and public sectors need to work hand in hand.


The job of a journalist is to hold people in power responsible; to hold a mirror to society,” Kadaria Ahmed’s words warmed the audience into a truly riveting, educational and entertaining July edition of Thursday Talks. This edition was tagged Journalists and Social Change, moderated by Fisayo Soyombo, featuring two other distinguished journalists and editors; Simon Kolawole (publisher of the Cable) and  Kadaria Ahmed (Nigerian journalist and media entrepreneur). 

The conversation kicked off with a pointed question, grilling the guests on why journalists should be concerned with social change. Ahmed quickly piped that the more dysfunctional a system is, the more there’s a need for proper, intentional journalism; to which Kolawole agreed vehemently. He noted that journalists are here to make a difference; adding that “We (journalists) are not just agents of social change, we facilitate social change.” 

Furthermore, Kolawole also added that gone was the era of relative independence of the press, as the desperate need for finance, sourced from those who run the economy, is insistently influencing editorial content. The moderator proactively asked, “how can we get back to the era of independence?”


In response to his statements, Kolowale declared that boundaries need to placed by news agencies, spelling it out clearly to companies that there’s a difference between adverts and editorial content. While they might get a fair hearing, advertisers should not be allowed to influence editorial content. Ahmed also added to this line of statements; highlighting the importance of news agencies having multiple sources of income. She said that trust is currency in the current era of fake news and that over time if you build trust with the public by providing quality, unbiased news, they would support you.

The topics of journalism and activism and the fine line that demarcate the two was broached during the one-hour conversation. Kolawole pointed out that journalists should make an impact, but the journalist only provides the raw data and activists have the responsibility to take it up. He emphasises that there is a difference between opinion writing and news writing and journalist should avoid injecting personal opinion, which he poses characterises activism. Kolawale said while he might occasionally partake in activism, he chooses to stick with the standards of journalism.

“I drive, but you can’t say I’m a driver”, he added.

Ahmed took a sightly varied stance, saying distinction between the two is difficult, and that as a journalist there has to be a fire in you and that fire is what she considers activism.

“So, how does Nigeria solve her standards problem in journalism?”; Soyombo asked. Both guests piqued that there is a need for self-regulation, and more incentives and money should be spent on the training of these journalists. The moderator pointed out that there’s also the towering issue of pay; the pay for journalists in Nigeria is not high and as such qualified people for the profession search for other endeavours. 

The discussion closed off by entertaining questions from the audience. A particular question asked the guests if journalists should be critical of other journalists. Both media professionals agreed that everyone should be held accountable, but the approach is what is essential; highlighting that it was better to give constructive criticism.

The July edition of the Thursday Talks, confronted the critical issues while providing entertaining conversation. It ended in high spirits as both guests thanked the moderator, Soyombo, on his excellent journalistic work.

“How is the government spending COVID-19 funds?” a troubling question that plagues the minds of many Nigerians.

June edition of Thursday Talks; a monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens aimed at driving conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship, attempted answering this question and establishing the importance of holding the government accountable as it relates to funds allocated to the fight against COVID-19.

The conversation which held on 25th of June 2020, was moderated by the Manager of Civic Hive, Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, and had Busayo Morakinyo, Community Engagement Manager for Follow The Money as well as Saied Tafida, Lead of Follow Taxes on the panel.

The current Coronavirus pandemic has led to the outpour of resources into the health sector in a bid to curb the spread of the disease and possible death. Donations have been raised, budgets have been drawn up to cater to the establishment of COVID-19 isolation centres, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other necessary facilities. This concerns that the Nigerian Government is actually using the raised funds for the aforementioned purposes.

Oyo leads the pack

Right off the bat, the information released by the Oyo State Government declaring a total of 2billion, 779million naira spent on COVID-19 related expenses was tabled. Busayo highlighted that while it’s important to question how this money was spent, it is important to note that Oyo State is part of the select few that have released their figures. He stressed that states are refusing to be transparent with their figures, which makes accountability difficult.

Corruption in state governance

In dissecting the reasons for this troubling issue, the speakers highlighted that COVID-19 hasn’t changed the normal trend of questionable practices in the government. Corruption was in existence before COVID-19, and still is. They also declared that the states can’t show us what they don’t have, and many didn’t have detailed records of their expenditure.

It was emphasised that not only do the State Government have a moral obligation to make these records public, it is also important to make accountability possible. The government was directed to put its citizens first.

Civil society campaign for accountability

The conversation harped on the activities of the civil society organisations to which the panelists belong, as they stressed on what they have been doing to ensure accountability is made possible.

Saied, declared that they’ve been tracking the figures since March, even though it’s considerably difficult due to movement restrictions. It was expressed that social listening was being utilised and a considerable amount of data mining was done to ensure the collation of COVID-19 expenditure data. Busayo also declared that “Follow The Money” radio had been launched in several states to disseminate and also obtain information on COVID -19 resources.

The way forward

Whilst it was clear that they were putting in a surmountable amount of effort, the speakers also stressed the need for audience members to play their part. They emphasised that Nigerians need to ensure they are pushing states to be responsible and to do this, citizens are expected to create a push and apply pressure.

Nigerians are admonished to ask those in government questions; bringing up the Freedom of Information Act enacted during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The speakers pinpointed that this empowers citizens, the right to ask government organisations for the COVID-19 fund allocation details, helping to hold them accountable.

A noteworthy point that viewers were left with is that Nigeria was still afar off from where it should be, but conversations like this were a start.

In continuation of the call for good governance, Thursday Talks, the monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens aimed at driving conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship held on Thursday, 28th May.

The conversation moderated by Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq, with panelists, Yinka Ogunnubi and Ayo Sogunro was titled “The Future of Governance: Leading an electorate in the era of social distancing.”

Aimed at continuing a push to ensure the status quo in governance changes, the May edition took a shot at proferring sustainable methods to change the way we look at governance in Nigeria; with a special focus on reforms.


Kicking off the discourse, Temidayo asked what the panelists think of government efforts towards stopping the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and Ayo insisted that the bulk of the credit should be given to the people who have led interventions – hardly the government.

Yinka, who is known for his strict call for social justice said we need to look at present realities to mold how the future will turn out. “The reality right now is, there’s a way we have been doing things…we can’t continue that way,” Yinka says. “How do we amend our laws for the post-COVID world.”

He adds, “We have to begin to look at the way we do governance. It has to change, has to be reflective of what the future holds. State governments should put a stop to politics and populist moves and focus on reforms.”

For Ayo, “we need a situation where every local government has the data of every resident in the local government. This data can be used by the state government for policies.”

Ayo adds that our systems are only relics of the colonial era and there’s a need to tune in to modern systems, so there is actual development.

It is interesting how a few state governments are looking at a post-COVID era and taking steps to do better. However, we are still trying to pack our bags in this journey and we all need to continue to demand good progressive governance and work with the government to make this work.

Two years is a short time but a long time to do great things. This was a highpoint at Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria‘s Thursday Talks, a monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens aimed at driving conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship. The initiative which started two years ago has truly grown into a reliable nation-wide conversation platform.

On this edition, Osayi Alile (CEO, Act Foundation) and Innocent Chukwuma (Regional Director, West Africa, Ford Foundation) discussed ‘The Future of Philanthropy in Nigeria,’ moderated by ‘Gbenga Sesan and Yemi Adamolekun.

Starting the conversation, Osayi asked if people really believe what they say when going on any stage. And applying this to NGOs, ‘are they providing sustainable solutionsDo they believe in themselves?’

Before we think of sustainability, we need to first think of survival irrespective of what is going on. We need to think of new ways of managing the situation,’ Osayi says.

In his vast experience in philanthropy, Innocent said social enterprises need to think less of charity in philanthropy and focus more on justice. ‘We should be moving from generosity to justice, especially now that COVID-19 has shown the gross inequality in the economic sector.

If we don’t move from generosity to justice, we won’t be able to talk about sustainability.

Charity is important in philanthropy but we need to dive deeply into the ultimate objective which is justice – speaking for the voiceless.’

In his explanation, Innocent gives example of the lockdown in Nigeria and how we have failed to realise that about 90% of Nigerians feed from hand to mouth. ‘What are social enterprises doing about this? Are they asking questions?’

Osayi reiterated Innocent who mentioned that people with philanthropic ideas do not need to open some other enterprise when they could just take the idea to an existing entity.

Innocent also insisted that NGOs need to stop depending on grants and look to solving problems that can turn into products that people will want to pay for.

There is a market for solving social problems that do not have to be solved by grants,’ Innocent says.

See video for more:

Thursday Talks Lagos which holds on the last Thursday of every month is an initiative of Enough is Enough (EiE Nigeria); a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability through active citizenship, The Future Project (TFP); a not-for-profit organisation committed to building empowered citizens across Africa, through (inclusive) enterprise and (active) citizenship and BudgIT; a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change.

The initiative is proudly supported by YNaija, the internet newspaper for young Nigerians, focused on the issues and ideas that matter for an evolving generation.

Topic: Social Media Week 2020

We were live at Social Media Week Lagos hosting a conversation on Fake News, Hate Speech and Cybercrime Acts with special focus on the Social Media Bill. The panelists were MI Abaga, Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of PIN and Iyabo Awokoya. The session was moderated by Chioma Agwuegbo, Executive Director, TechHer. It was unanimously agreed by citizens that the government should kill the bill.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters hosted the public hearing on The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations; and for Related Matters Bill, 2019 (SB. 132) aka Social Media Bill on March 9, 2020. They are yet to make the report of the public hearing public.

Topic: Making your Local Government work for you. 


  • Abidemi Adeoye
    • Project Lead, GovMetre
  • Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa
    • Manager, CivicHive
  • Dapo Awobeku
    • EiE Nigeria
  • Kayode Omiyale
    • Yaba LCDA Chair
  • AILERU Bolanle Nurudeen
    • Vice Chairman, Yaba LCDA 

Event snapshots


It is believed that ‘1 in every 3 Nigerians want to leave the country for foreign shores.’ To examine creative ways of stemming the disturbing trend, therefore, in lieu of the need for citizens to harness the power of their office, organisers of #ThursdayTalksLagos focused its November edition on Greener Pastures: “The Role of Citizens and Leaders in Nigeria.”

Group CEO, RED | For Africa and guest speaker, Adebola Williams at the panel moderated by Oluwamayowa Tijani of The Cable in providing answers to the question ‘Are there are greener pastures?’  noted that “the grass is only greener where it properly watered, manured and weeded regularly.”

‘Debola Lagos’ as he is popularly known bemoaned the fact that a lot of Nigerians compare their country to the first world at the slightest opportunity, forgetting that shanties exist in those climes. He further explained that a major distinguishing line between Nigeria and a number of countries around the world is the lack of and/or deplorable state of basic infrastructure and benefits.

We keep pointing fingers, forgetting other fingers are pointing at us

Reminding everyone present that there is a growing number of ‘Nigerians shinning in Nigeria,’ he urged them to look into the mirror and think beyond personal survival but communal survival noting that “until people start taking responsibility we will keep pointing fingers.”

Although he alluded to the fact that many a time, it would seem like the entire system in the country is set up against the ordinary Nigerian, he posed a question a to the audience, “If the system is set up against you; what are you doing to correct same?”

“Anywhere you are in the world, always remember that you are water to Africa. This will allow the grass to get greener, so you don’t meet a desert when you are back,” he said.

Leaders need to take the mandate of leaving a legacy serious

“It is difficult to build institutions with majority of politicians dominating the space. You need leaders who are reform-minded. People who want to take the job as an assignment they must pass.”

Popular Participation

On the issue of popular participation, he noted that it was important that Nigerians learned lessons from the last two general elections by believing in their convictions henceforth and look towards building blocks for a new movement.

He listed the number of weapons been used by the political class against citizens to include apathy, ignorance, corruption, ethnicity, religion amongst other things after which he charged Nigerians to use the #OfficeOfTheCitizen to:

a) Hold government accountable

b) Find bridge builders and convince the gatekeepers in government

c) Seek international support for the ideals and changes they desire to see.


This edition of Thursday Talks focuses on the new directive from the National Electric  Regulatory Commission to meter electric consumers. The order which was given to all DisCos was slated to commence on the 1st of May 2019. Permission was given to several meter asset providers (M.A.Ps) to partner with the Discos for the effective running of the project.  

Mr Felix Ofulue gave a brief summary of the importance of the new metering scheme and how it would benefit the average electric consumer. He gave the benefits as being the end to over-estimated billing which is the highest complaints from consumers, “illegal disconnection would be a thing of the past,” according to him, as consumers would no longer be owing to the DisCos except for cases where bills were not paid before the procurement of meters.

He spoke extensively on the role of the DisCos in procuring meters for interested consumers. According to him, consumers are to visit the website page of their various DisCos for directions on steps to being metered. “The DisCos are responsible for inspecting the house to be metered and providing the necessary information on what meter would be most appropriate for the building; there are two types of meter-the two-phase meter and the three-phase meter.

“Most people mistake the three-phase meter for having three phases of power outlet or lines, where they can change from one line to the other when perhaps there is no light in one, this is very wrong and illegal, people need to stop this act” he lamented.

Speaking on the reasons why consumers are paying for meters as opposed being metered freely by the DisCos, Mr Felix Ofulue predicated that the current amount for the purchase of the meters are; N38,850 for single-phase meter and N70,350 for three-phase meter (VAT Inclusive), this includes installation and periodic maintenance. According to him, the DisCos cannot procure free meters to the 4.7 million unmetered consumers because the M.A.Ps have to make profits as they are the suppliers of the meters. “Consumers are expected to pay half of the current bill they are owing before they can be given meters, in case of over-estimated bills or cases where there is an issue with the bill, they would be issued a fair hearing during application for meters. I would advise everyone to start their application for meters to put an end to estimated billing challenges.” 

He advised consumers to scrupulously make the right inquiries when considering renting a building or apartment. “The DisCo officials can come to the apartment and help you verify if the building has accumulated bills, also every building that is given power is registered under the DisCo’s database, that way consumers can go with the address and verify if the building is free from debt. Landlords are advised to notify the DisCos if their buildings become vacant to stop the supply of power and avoid wrongful estimated billings and accumulated debt.

He also reiterated the fact that meters are owned by the DisCos and consumers have no right to move the meters from one property to the other.

He stated that “all payments for meters should be made into the authorized bank account of the MAP. No customer should pay cash for meters to any individual”.

Conclusively, Mr.Felix Ofulue responded to complaints from the audience. He addressed the issue of load shedding, estimated bills, lack of power supply, and metering. He also admonished power consumers to get their meters as this would end estimated billings and illegal disconnections. “Some people have paid for their meters but are yet to be metered, be rest assured that you would be metered, the list of consumers who have paid and need to be metered is overwhelming but the DisCos are working tirelessly to ensure everyone is metered”. 

Easy Steps to Getting Metered

  • To commence application for meter, customers are expected to visit their various DisCos or go to their website.
  • The customer’s location would be surveyed after completion of the Know Your Customer (K.Y.C) process.
  • Customers are advised on payment for meter after completion of the survey. They can pay either full payment or in installments.
  • The customer will be metered within 10 days after payment is made.

Benefits of Meters

  • No more estimated billing as you pay for the exact energy consumed
  • The smart meters allow you to better manage your consumption.
  • You can pay for electricity online and via all our payment channels.
  • No more disconnection for non-payment of bills.

It was an insightful moment at the April edition of Thursday Talks, the monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens aimed at driving conversations around the demand

When the late mountaineer and philanthropist, Edmund Percival Hillary remarked that “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things,” he may never have had Nigeria in mind or thought of Africa.

With the challenges bedeviling democracy in a country like ours, however, where many have become accustomed to alarming anomalies like police brutality and high-handedness on the part of security agencies; sexual assault, fear of government, unwillingness to question the lack of probity, transparency and accountability of state institutions, that statement has increasingly resounded in our space as stories are replete of individuals standing out to brave the odds and maximize the ‘Office of the Citizen’ to echo sanity in the polity.

Flowing from this, the need to hear their stories, achievements and the challenges they face in the course of their advocacy voyage, took centre-stage at the June edition of Thursday Talks; a monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens aimed at driving conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship.


The event themed ‘Ordinary Citizens doing Extraordinary Things’ was anchored by Dapo Awobeku and had on the panel, Rights Activist and #ReformPolice campaigner, Segun ‘Segalink’ Awosanya, Freedom of Information (FOI) Champion; Alo Martins and Founder of #MarketMarch; Damilola Marcus who in sharing their experiences harped on the need for citizens who desire change to  do away with the culture of fear and take responsibility for their individual spaces.

On the part of Alo Martins, who gave a vivid account of a recent ‘Freedom of Information case’ he fought with the Ondo State Government, he listed the challenges he faced to include “States of the federation” claiming not to be bound by federal laws, finance and discouragement from relatives and friends. He went on to explain how he received assistance for ‘his case’ from Pro Bono lawyers to the point that he was questioned by top officials what his ‘real interest’ was, for pursuing such a sensitive case.

Calling on the National Orientation Agency (N.O.A) to publicize major laws made in the country, Martins advocated the need for more Nigerians to write F.O.I requests where the need arise, as no special qualification is required for same; stressing that citizens have a huge role in making laws work for the country since they cannot fight on their own.

In explaining the motive behind her foray into activism/advocacy, Damilola Marcus noted that although she wasn’t directly affected by the abuse of women in Lagos markets, the #YabaMarketMarch was inspired by the deep concern she felt about the culture of abuse already taken as a norm in the country, leading her to research on what she could do to help the situation.


She remarked that though change may be slow; the movement was embarking on underground measures through the help of stakeholders and a committee set up to ensure cultural change.


For the #ENDSARS Campaigner, he lamented the unhealthy practice of disintegrating the police into units in a bid to whittle down its power coupled with the disgraceful attitude of government towards Police welfare and institutions, as reflected in the dilapidated state of the Police Academy and Police Colleges.


Segalink listed the gains of his advocacy movement to include: the passing into law of the Police Trust Fund Bill without monetary inducement, the Police Reform Bill after 70 years of operating under an archaic Act and Restructuring of the Police Complaint Unit to allow for collaboration with civil organisations amongst many others.


He also stated that the weaponisation of poverty in the country by the political class stands as a major challenge in the ‘business of advocacy,’ adding that the culture of impunity in the country had become systemic with no respect for religion, ethnicity or political party.


Thursday Talks Lagos which holds on the last Thursday of every month is an initiative of The Future Project (TFP), a not-for-profit organisation committed to building empowered citizens across Africa, through (inclusive) enterprise and (active) citizenship; Enough is Enough (EiE Nigeria); a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability through active citizenship, and BudgIT; a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change.

The initiative is proudly supported by YNaija, the internet newspaper for young Nigerians, focused on the issues and ideas that matter for an evolving generation.

It was an insightful moment at the April edition of Thursday Talks, the monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens aimed at driving conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship.

In what can be termed a special edition, the participants converged at Filmhouse Cinema, Surulere to watch 4th Republic, the “thrilling political procedural movie that chronicles Nigeria’s political and electoral system in the last two decades,” and was thereafter followed by a conversation with Kate Henshaw, the Lead Actress in the movie, as well as Ferdinand ‘Ladi Adimefe, a House of Representatives candidate for Eti-Osa Federal Constituency in the just concluded National Assembly election.


The ensuing panel anchored by Team Lead, The Future Project, Ms. Bukonla Adebakin, saw participants listen to the exciting political journeys of both panelists while answering questions on their experience in the game and solutions to the myriad of challenges affecting the country, especially in relation to leadership and accountability.

Sharing his experience, Ferdy Adimefe who ran for office on the platform of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) said his decision to present himself as a representative in his locality was borne out of the fact that having joined civic engagements in the past, he saw it as a moral obligation to do more in engaging the system in the area of policy making for the good of all. Explaining that he also suffered moral tension at some point in the race as catalogued in the movie, the Digital Media Entrepreneur charged young people to get off the high horse of criticism and do more to make the country better.


Ferdy who said he hopes to run again in 2023 added that with the lessons learnt from the 2019 general elections, he has already begun a chapter of consistent involvement in the process, but says he doesn’t mind supporting a like mind for the office as he is not necessarily interested in being the poster boy.

On the part of Ms. Henshaw, who herself ran in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) December 2014 primaries to represent Calabar South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives,  she enjoined the youth to join political parties (including the dominant political parties at current) so as to influence the choice of candidates for elections which she said was a critical part of getting it right in the march to right the wrongs of leadership in the country.

Explaining that she among many considerations chose to star in the movie because it gave her a chance the relieve the moment of her short-lived political career, given that the script was very realistic. The Nollywood legend equally advocated for men to support competent female aspirants in order to ensure that the country moves forward while charging everyone present to move beyond criticising those in power to engaging people everywhere including in their private spaces when they do wrong.

Thursday Talks Lagos which holds on the last Thursday of every month is an initiative of The Future Project (TFP), a not-for-profit organisation committed to building empowered citizens across Africa, through (inclusive) enterprise and (active) citizenship; Enough is Enough (EiE Nigeria); a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability through active citizenship, and BudgIT; a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change.

The initiative is proudly supported by YNaija, the internet newspaper for young Nigerians, focused on the issues and ideas that matter for an evolving generation.

The first edition of #ThursdayTalks for this year will be holding on January 31, 2019. This month edition would be exploring the role of the media in the upcoming election, with special focus on the subject of fake news.

 The topic is #NigeriaDecides2019‘Role of the media in the election: Addressing Fake News.’ The guest discussants are David Ajikobi, Nigeria Editor for Africa Check, Hannah Ojo, an Investigative Journalist with The Nation and TruttBuzz Fellow, (International Centre for Journalists) and Jude Egbas, Journalist with Pulse Nigeria.


The 8th edition held on Thursday the 25th of October at Civic Hive, 42 Montgomery Road, Yaba. The event which was hosted by BudgIT and moderated by Kunle (BudgIT) was a debate between Dolapo Ashiru (Managing Partner, Nirvana Consultants) and Sherif Adekoya (Senior Strategist, Insight Communication).

The conversation; “Nigeria at 58, The Independence Debate” witnessed discussions around Nigeria’s independence 58 years after – a look into the past and a critical analysis of the pitfalls of the economy.


Topic: #NigeriaAt58 – The Independence Debate

The conversation started with some pointers from both speakers on reasons why the economy still remains depraved, well after 58 years of Independence.

Sherif Adekoya bemoaned the ignorance of most Nigerian youths, the nonchalant approach to education and political knowledge. According to him “there is no vacuum in reality, when you do not get qualitative education, you begin to fill your social space with sentiments”. “People who are dry on knowledge, people who are ignorant tend to be more violent”.

He went on to explain the need for Nigerian youths to equip themselves with sufficient information on governance and politics of the state, stating that, “an average Nigerian under 30 is not well informed and when you are not well informed, you are not well formed to get the best out of you”. He ended this note on the need to re-educate the youth and re-educate them on what is expected of them.

 Cross-Section of panelists

Sherif Adekoya also delved into population explosion, the ever-increasing birth-rate and its debilitating effect on Nigeria’s economy. He explained that although ‘man power’ is increasing as a result of increased childbirth in the country, there are equally no increasing resources and opportunities for the teeming population.

Speaking about Governance, he said, “We cannot expect to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result”. According to him, the electorates should focus on demystifying archaic traditions of voting. Competence and character of candidates should be the criteria for voting as opposed to age, and political parties.

Democracy would work but we need a lot of sacrifice” he added.

The strength of this country is our diversity” Dolapo Ashiru said while speaking on the sustainability of the Nigerian Democracy. He elucidated by stating the need for synergy among all tribes to foster economic growth and development. He also stated that democracy is required to move the country forward and that could only be achieved once our votes start to count – also stating that we have no choice but to make democracy work.

 Cross-Section of panelists and participants

Furthermore, he stated that revolution has started in the country with the advent of the new media, CSOs like BudgIT, EiE Nigeria etc. Highlighting the fact that more and more people are clamouring on PVC collection, watching & counting votes, monitoring of the ballot boxes and lastly voting in elections, stating that “rigging elections these days is not that easy”.

He predicated that most politicians are inept because they lack passion, rather than focus on providing lasting solutions for the masses they are merely concerned with self-gratification.

If we eradicate corruption in Nigeria, we wouldn’t be having these conversations” Mr Sherif stated while speaking on corruption, “we can afford cake but we are getting bread”. There is a need to tell ourselves the truth, know what is working and what isn’t working.

In Conclusion, Mr Dolapo stated that Nigeria can work if we begin to get things right by enacting favourable policies beneficial to foreign and local investors which will aid economic growth and if citizens begin to circumspectly choose leaders who are credible rather than make choices based on prejudice.

Without mincing words, Nigeria is going through very difficult times. And so, it is pertinent that we have discussions on the many issues that stagnate the countries progress. The seventh edition of Thursday Talks Lagos, a monthly conversation with thought leaders, change agents and active citizens which aims at driving conversations around the demand for good governance driven by active citizenship was one of such deliberations.

This event is organised by YNaijaEiE Nigeria and BudgIT.

For the September edition, Juliet Kego, Co-Founder, Whole WoMan Network and Akin Oyebode (Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund debated on the topic: “Millenials and the Challenges of Nation Building“.


See talking points below:

  • I think we are making progress but economic disability is the problem” – Oyebode.
  • One thing we have to unlearn as a nation is a total dependency on the government and the inherent distrust of markets. We place too much power in government that such powers can be over-used. The government runs virtually everything in Nigeria which shouldn’t be so ideally.” – Oyebode.
  • For the younger generation, we have to learn from the mistakes of the past and attempt to create greatness out of it” – Oyebode.
  • If we do not face our challenges with a binary approach, then there is no incentive for our political leaders to do anything. People will keep getting into positions of authority and remain wayward” – Oyebode.
  • We need leadership that prioritises education. The current leadership does not even bother” – Kego.
  • We need leaders who understand that the private sector needs energising. More infrastructure to allow them to thrive. We need leaders that will invest in people, young people” – Kego.
  • The world is becoming more democratic and because of that, people have less tolerant of nonsense. Millennials are more expressive and have lots of medium to express themselves than people of the other generation” – Oyebode.
  • “We have lost our shared values. We’ve lost the core of what makes a nation” – Kego.
  • Let’s not be deceived, the reason why the  Bill could be passed now is because older politicians want their children to get into politics earlier” – Oyebode.
  • It is not enough to be young and mental, you need a structure to win an election in Nigeria. One of those structures is name recognition. Millennials must get involved in the politics of their locality. It goes beyond social media ranting and criticism. Get involved in the process. It’s not just about you having PVC but the ability to influence how people think and take decisions” – Oyebode.
  • We have a dysfunctional country where almost nothing is working. Politics and Government are what drives the economy. Millennials form the larger percentage of the governed and should be given the chance to participate in the process.
  • There’s a need to design advocacy that is geared towards a positive outcome. Advocacy goes beyond telling people to just go get their PVCs. Beyond the  Bill there has to be a structural change in the system so the millennials can actively participate” – Kego.
  • Some of the most ill-performed governors in Nigeria are the youngest. Millennials must go through the process so as to understand what to disrupt. You cannot just say you want to rush into it. Because while many are discussing disruption, they don’t know what they want to disrupt” – Oyebode.
  • Nigeria’s political system isn’t designed for competence but for cronies and settling people” – Kego.
  • Millennials participation in politics shouldn’t be necessarily confrontational. Leverage on the power of digital media” – Oyebode.
  • The advantage of youth is also its problem. People need a whole lot of coaching because inexperience is one of the major problems.”

In the wake of the mega-city plan of the Lagos State Government and the regular influx of people from all over Nigeria, Africa and indeed, the world, it is necessary to start a discourse on affordable housing in the state, what could be the problems and how these can be solved.

In the light of this, at a forum organised by YNaija, Enough is Enough (EiE) and BudgIT, bringing together thought leaders, change agents and stakeholders, the dilemma of affordable housing took the centre stage with Olayinka Patunola-Ajayi(Deputy Director of Estate, Lagos State Ministry of Housing); Samuel Akinrolabu(Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation); Lookman Oshodi (Arctic Infrastructure); Ugochi Sylvia (Trashhaters) and Bimbo Osobe (Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation) on the panel.

The panellists spoke on “Affordable Housing in Lagos: Possibilities and challenges“.


 Cross-Section of panelists

When asked what the Lagos government is doing to ensure affordable and adequate housing facilities in Lagos, Patunola-Ajayi said, “It is not possible for all of us to own a house. The present administration is thinking of going into rental housing.”

Speaking further, she said the scheme allows you make payment spread across ten years, “It strikes me that people spend a lot of money on things like recharge cards and find it hard to pay N75,000 monthly for Rent to Own scheme spread over 10 years.”


 Some panelists

She adds, however, that there are a lot of projects to be carried out in Lagos and with the scramble and paucity of funds, affordable housing might seem too herculean – also considering the regular influx of people into the state.

On waste disposal, Patunola-Ajayi said, “As citizens, as residents of Lagos, we need to exercise caution. We do not care that waste is a problem and that is an attitude we need to change. The government cannot do it alone.”


Participants engaging the panelists

When asked how the government can solve the problem of agent fees and the issue of two-year rent asked by landlords, Patunola-Ajayi said there is a centre in place to receive such cases.

To the same question of waste disposal, Ugochi Sylvia says there’s a disaster waiting to happen as the state has not planned well to ensure waste does not pose serious environmental and health problems for residents.


 Cross-Section of panellists

On the problem of housing, Sylvia says it cannot stop unless other state governments begin to make their state self-sufficient, because the usual “promise” is that Lagos is where you go for ‘greener pastures’.

On slum and so-called informal settlements, Bimbo Osobe said the government should consider the dwellers in their plans rather than displace them totally.

The June 12, 1993 presidential election will remain a historical reference the world over when a discussion centres around ‘free and fair elections‘. There were antecedents and of course, outgrowths after the election was annulled but, that will not take anything off the fact that the election affected the Nigerian political sphere in more ways than imagined.

On this month’s edition of Thursday Talks, the 1993 election was the discuss and a couple of issues were raised again in a thought-provoking and enlightening gathering organised by EiE Nigeria, BudgIT and YNaija.

The focus of the fifth edition was the 1993 election and the way lessons for advocacy – ‘June 12, 1993 presidential elections: The lessons for advocacy movement‘.


 Cross-Section of participants and panellists

Giving a little history of the events that surrounded the said election, human rights activist and lawyer, Ayo Obe said the then Military leader, Ibrahim Babangida had thought M.K.O. Abiola would do his bidding since they were friends and Abiola was an ardent coup sponsor but he was disappointed that the reverse was the case, the reason he did everything to ensure the election was annulled. Civil societies stood to fight the annulment and the menace of military leadership but were actively resisted by those in power.


She added that Abiola only came up as a politician because his lifetime was ridden with bad leaders.

Sitting on the same panel, Chuks Ojidoh said politicians need to learn from Abiola.

“We need to change how leaders emerge and the concept of politics being a short-term thing,” he said. Adding that Abiola built strong and positive networks everywhere he went and “these are the kind of leadership qualities we need to change Nigeria.”


Participants at the event

On advocacy, referencing the struggles of civil society groups after the annulment, Ojidoh said NGOs and/or civil society groups or individuals who start movements need to think beyond fighting for events and look at bigger pictures like fighting for injustices, no matter on which side it is coming from.

Still on advocacy and referencing her membership with the Bring Back Our Girls Movement, Obe said there are many things that are usually packaged when these movements are founded.

“We use these struggles to pressurise the concerned authorities to look at larger issues in that space“.

Thursday Talks holds every last Thursday of the month. Join the conversation.

In the wake of the Not Too Young To Run Bill and the 2019 elections, there is a need for  Nigerians – both old and young – to critically examine the variables that will break out when supposed young politicians begin to show interest in running the affairs of the country.

The focus of the fourth edition of Thursday Talks was the need to understand how young Nigerians can comfortably begin to drive conversations and/or change narratives in the political sphere.


Hon. Gbolahan O. Yishawu of the Lagos House of Assembly (Eti-Osa Constituency II) emphasised the need to understand that apart from the voting system, there is also the party system; and for anyone to be part of decision-making, the said interest must start from the grassroots and the party.

Hon. Gbolahan O. Yishawu

Speaking on an age-long debate – ‘Women in Politics’ – Yishawu said the conversation driving the Not Too Young To Run Bill should not forget to always include women, so “we do not fall into the same trap of gender inequality“. He added that what women actually fight for is “balance” and that should be respected.

On godfatherism, Yishawu disclaimed that idea that such arrangement leads to public fund mismanagement, saying godfathers are like mentors that guide politicians unless the motive to continue the looting process.

Speaking during the session, a participant said young people should rather focus on organising themselves, as they do too much of agonising. “If you think politics is what you want to do, join a party if activism is what you want to do, do it well“.

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (Eti-Osa I) on his own part said there are so many accidental politicians in the system. “We need a crop of people that will navigate the conversation. I’m very proud of the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill but it’s still mediocre. Mediocre in relation to the 1979 constitution that had 21 years as the minimum age for House of Assembly and House of Rep and 30 for Senate.”

The 34-year-old state legislator added that we need to change the demography of the voting population in Nigeria.

Thursday Talks holds every last Thursday of the month. Join the conversation.

The focus of the third edition of Thursday Talks was the environment and the need for active citizens to hold government accountable. The event started with a brief introduction by the moderator, Usman Alabi after which the panelists weighed in on the subject matter.


Lookman Oshodi from Arctic Infrastructure emphasized the need to keep holding government accountable despite inadequate responses.  He stated that social media provides a veritable tool for citizens to vent their anger and hold government accountable.

In his response to the question on the effect of development of cities on displacement of people, Andrew Maki (Co-Executive Director of JEI) who represented Megan Chapman bemoaned the criminalization of self-help informal methods. He criticized the move by the government to privatize water while not providing potable water for the citizens.

Gbenga Adebola (spokesperson for PSP) educated the guest on the role of PSP in relation to the Cleaner Lagos Initiative by the Lagos State government. He stated that although the PSP had lapses in the delivery of their services, they had invested about N6 billion in the industry. However, the Visionscape group employed by the government to manage waste disposal in the state clearly lacks the funds, capacity and expertise in waste management despite having received a loan of N50 billion.

He explained that the PSP never left, they simply operated a “willing payer, willing buyer system”. Once Lagosians saw the Visionscape waste bins in their communities, they stopped patronizing the PSP. However, when the government realised the Cleaner Lagos initiative had failed, they reached out to PSP and tried to force the PSP to serve as subcontractors under Visionscape.

We must all get involved. Our existence is dependent on the environment we live in. Policies must be bottom-up approach.” – Gbenga Adebola.

One of the participants, Gabriel Okeowo (BudgIT) narrated his plights with waste disposal. He stated that waste hasn’t been picked up where he lives for several weeks. He showed participants pictures and explained how he had to pack the dirt himself into 14 bins and dispose of them.

One of the overfull dustbin

On housing, Andrew Maki stated that despite a high court verdict, the Lagos State Government went ahead with the demolition of houses in the Otobo Gbame community. He encouraged the guests to challenge the common narrative perpetuated by the ruling class.

“The government exists to serve me and my interests, not chop money” – Andrew Maki.

When was the last government that provided affordable housing? Jakande? – He asked. He stated that the housing scheme at Epe costs about N4.5 million and are not affordable to ordinary Lagosians.

“This is mismanagement and corruption and the highest level. This is a disgrace and they need to be kicked out. He stated that there are massive gaps in the housing sector. There are no affordable housing. We must be willing to have a collective discussion otherwise we ain’t going nowhere.”

Ahisu Celestine from the Otobo Gbame community urged the participants to come to the aid of those displaced by the government.

A participant, Abel, suggested the need to harmonize our contributions on affordable housing into a bill & consistently advocate till it becomes a law. Another participant stated the need to have available solutions presented to the government as a model. The public can then demand to which politicians can hear and act upon.

Cross-section of participants

Chuks Ojidoh (Reclaim Naija) stated that those in authority have no regard for local knowledge. They will rather adopt expensive solutions for simple problems just to enrich themselves.

We must start holding government accountable for what we can feel not what they are saying” – Chuks Ojidoh.

Andrew Maki concluded stating that 2019 is around the corner, when politicians come around asking for votes, citizens must demand from them their positions on affordable housing, waste generation among others.

Join us for the next edition of Thursday Talks on June 28, 2018, at Civic Hive, Yaba.

The second edition was held on Thursday 26th April, 2018 and was hosted by BudgIT at Civic Hive. The event which was moderated by Abiola Afolabi (Communications lead, BudgIT) witnessed discussions around the Oil subsidy saga.

Participants watched a documentary (Fueling poverty) from the oil subsidy protests in 2012 after which the prevailing issues with the oil subsidy was discussed. Participants gave thoughts from the documentary, discussed present happenings and suggested means through which citizens can be more involved in the oil sector.


‘Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough Nigeria gave an overview of the protest in 2012.  According to her, “Subsidy by definition isn’t bad, however, the incompetence by the government must be looked at”. She further explained that presently subsidy is being paid for by NNPC before remittance is made to the federal government. She emphasized the lack of knowledge and the need for citizens to put much pressure on government to do the right thing.

Gabriel Okeowo (GM, Operations, BudgIT) stated that although the protest didn’t turn out as expected probably because the labor unions sorted out with the government, it was very important. Stating the Bring Back Our Girls example, he tasked the participants on how to remain resolute in their demands and not cave in to pressure or intimidation.

One of the participants stated the dearth in knowledge penetration. He emphasized the need for citizens to get the necessary information as stated in the documentary in their native languages. He also bemoaned the lack of an effective opposition party & the need for citizens to demand and hold government to their words.

Bode Akintola stated that there will never be the right solutions. He posited that until the refineries are fixed, subsidy will always have to be paid.

Dayo, a writer with YNaija, citing the Olusosun dump site as an example, stated the need for citizens to speak out in the face of injustice and bad governance. According to him, Nigerians are more afraid to speak about their rights. He explained that even those enduring the hazardous situations have refused to speak out! No one was willing to talk to them when they went to interview residents.

“Revolutions are social events. We need to study them and adapt to this one”, stated one of the participants.

Others expressed the need not to be less sympathetic about Nigeria, the importance of effective leadership, the need to educate citizens and be actively involved.

In conclusion, Abiola stated that what happened in 2012 needs to happen again! If we constantly work together as citizens, we can achieve anything we want. We must spread the word ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE!

There was an introductory speech by ‘Yemi Adamolekun (ED, EiE Nigeria) where she reiterated the need for a working partnership amidst Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria which led to a platform such as ‘Thursday Talks’. She then introduced the facilitator, Innocent Chukwuma.

He started his speech by giving a personal history of his early days in the civic space, the evolution of the civic movement and its current state. According to him, the pioneering leaders in the civil space were trained in the tertiary institutions. The campuses used to be the hot bed for discussing issues but nothing of such exists today.

He faulted the strategy currently being adopted by CSOs. The keyword in the past was Political Education; to mobilize the oppressed class to challenge the existing system while what we have now is Voter Education; which is compliance within an existing system which has led to increasing participation but declining representation causing fragmentatio and stiffened effectiveness.

Mr Innocent also noted that though the proliferation of NGO’s and CSOs, yet the difficulty in addressing issues. He challenged leaders of NGO’s present to leave their comfort zone and collaborate with one another in other to grow the space.

Participants wrote down their various challenges in the civic space, but few pertinent ones were addressed by the facilitator among which include

Collaboration among CSOs: He explained that the course must be stronger than the founder with the focus on building institutions that can function even when the founder is not involved. He urged participants to imbibe the culture of collaboration as working in isolation could lead to frustration.

Sustainability of an Advocacy Course: He stated that love for country and the course we stand for will always make us sustain the struggle.

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