Institutionalization of the Civil Society Movement in Edo State – LEFTIST OSAZEE EDIGIN

…the EDOCSOs model.
For any idea or vision to stand the test of time, it must be institutionalized and held in firm foundation for unborn generations to partake of.
This forms the fulcrum upon which the founders and idealists of Edo Civil Society Organisations had in mind when it was mooted that a coalition of civil rights groups in the state became imperative for the promotion of good governance, social justice and human rights.
The concept was not to build strong men, recognizable faces or an attempt to get government recognition and validation as individual activists but to ensure a strong bond that could collectively take-on the mirage of societal ills headlong. While in some other settings, individuals are jostling to be heard or seen, EDOCSO work hard towards achieving a collective voice and stance.
A journey that started at the wake of the fuel subsidy removal protests in January 2012 brought together different civil society actors across Edo state for the sole purpose of prosecuting the issue at hand. A collaboration that was to metamorphosed into one of the most viable, formidable and organised civil rights coalition in Nigeria as at today.
Affiliations by groups are voluntary and still remains so till date. Financial contributions towards sustainability are not compelling. Rules of engagement are enshrined in a constitution for all. Capacity building to strengthen groups and individuals is a priority and above all, solidarity and unwavering love for each other in non-negotiable.
The first nominated Interim Coordinator General was Comrade Kaduna Eboigbodin, a veteran labour leader and a former Nigeria Labour Congress state chairman in Edo state. He helped to coordinate the activities of the coalition at the formation stage alongside other executive members. His deputy was Comrade Omobude Agho who was to succeed him at the expiration of his tenure being one of the catalysts in the idea behind the coalition formation.
Omobude Agho led leadership had a deliberate and clear-cut policy in ensuring that the civil rights movement in the state is institutionalized. The first was to ensure a corporate secretariat is maintained with staff. Trainings and capacity building was top priority for both old and young activists. Constant engagement with government and its agencies as it borders on policies. A non political partisanship posture by the coalition in its operations is a standing creed.
Protection of citizens’rights and ensuring fairness and justice for all are the burdens borne by all that subscribes to the tenets of the coalition as activists. Ameliorating the sufferings of the masses is at the core of the mandates which informed the need to have a mass transportation scheme that is adjudged to be the cheapest in fares in the state as at today. Even cheaper than the Edo state owned transportation scheme.
Moved by the high level of lack of awareness and enlightenment at the grassroots, the coalition took steps in establishing community based learning centres dubbed ‘study centres’. These study centres are scattered in over 22 communities in Edo state and covers the 18 local government councils of the state. It is believed the reason a lot of persons cannot effectively and convincingly engage the system is because of the amount of information available to them. So, it became necessary for knowledge to the spread to those at the grassroots irrespective of their educational background.
Oppression, intimidation and denigration of human strives when ignorance is all time high in any society. Knowledge illuminates and builds confidence. That is what the study centres seek to achieve. Lives have been transformed at the various grassroots levels with testimonial attestations. Members of the coalition is in thousands both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
Today, the coalition is undergoing a rejig under the interim leadership of Bishop Osadolor Ochei JP who is repositioning it for a stronger and firmer engagement. The foundation and pillars are being solidified in engendering succession and continuity. The building of a well-knit fortress is to ensure those with inordinate ambitions are waded off. The love and solidarity by members are waxing stronger by the day as the coalition is not built on devilish competition and unhealthy rivalry amongst members. Edo Civil Society Organisations have come to stay as long as there are men and women of same passion, vision and idealogy to sustain it. Men will surely fade away but institutions stand for a longer time.
Leftist Osazee Edigin AICMC is the immediate past public relations officer of Edo Civil Society Organisations and a founding member of the coalition.

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