Nigeria has joined the lead United Nations human settlements agency in launching a campaign to promote transparency and accountability in urban governance.
The Global Campaign for Good Urban Governance by the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) was launched in Abuja yesterday, with Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo stressing that after several years of non-democratic rule, urbanization was one of the major challenges facing his country. Reiterating his Government's commitment to broadening the democratic process, the President said the campaign "is one of the best ways to ensure that ordinary Nigerians can fully benefit from the democracy dividend."
For her part, Anna Tibaijuka, Habitat's Executive Director, stressed that although Nigeria, like the rest of Africa, was still predominantly rural, it had the highest rates of urbanization in the world. The problems of cities and towns on the continent could only be solved by better urban governance, she said, adding that the launch of the campaign in Abuja sent "positive signals to other countries on the continent, the developing world and beyond that it is possible to improve the state of our cities and human settlements."
The three-day launch is expected to highlight the campaign's goals of promoting partnerships with the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other members of civil society to effect positive change in urban governance. Issues of women in government, poverty reduction, urban safety and security will also be addressed during the launch.