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Accountability is not only about Money, experts affirmed

When accountability within a corporate organization or non-profit (civil society space) performance is only measured from monetary view, the society will be in problem. This and many thoughts were shared in our recently held ‘Africa Civil Society Space; accountability issue’.  The programme which was attended by various heads of civil society organizations in Nigeria and Africa and organized by   Africa Foundation For Young media Professionals as well as Difficult conversation Africa had leading experts who are leaders of strong civil society Organizations from Africa as speakers. Dr. Blessing Ayemhere, who is a chartered Accountant, strategist and a Managing director of an oil and gas company based in Nigeria as well President of I-extra shared in his own opinion that accountability may not be done properly except a proper delineation of stakeholders is done. Beyond that  Dr. Blessing emphasised the fact that stakeholders expectation must be known and not just what they organization wants to push out. Aside from this, accountability rests on structures and if any of these structures are missing, accountability becomes a child play with no head or tail. Dr Blessing also advised that civil Society Actor should remember their purpose and not allow personal ego or drive to enrich themselves becomes the goal. He emphasised ‘‘expectation is higher now from observers and stakeholders of non-profit, hence a need to surpass this’’ The second speaker, Ms motunrayo Alaka who is tehe executive Director of Wole Soyinka Centre For investigative Journalism encouraged civil Society actors To be ready with evidence with constant and appropriate  documentation of everything that is important. Document on the go was her advice as people have a tendency to recollect everything that happens in the past. When people give you anything, do document them even if it looks insignificant. Let nothing be wasted With emphasis on major areas where accountability must be observed, Motunrayo Alaka said ‘‘be accountable to your purpose, be accountable to your project, be accountable to your people and be accountable to your fund’’. In today’s world, according to Alaka, the above are pillars of accountability that must be in place not just about the funding. While Civil Society is not profit oriented, it is also not also for loss. Therefore leaders of civil Society, non-profit must sharpen their entrepreneurial abilities. Today, structure for Public good is now in demand.  For accountability to be sound, each organization must attend to the peculiarities of each project and donor. A need to bridge the gap between knowledge and capacity is also essential for civil society in this age according to Motunrayo Alaka. Accountability is not just a fad, Motunrayo Alaka also emphasised ‘people who place value on accountability play the long game.’ Accountability issues and demands must be intentional if civil society must excel. Another speaker, Seyi Oyebisi, who is the Executive Director of Network of Nigeria  NGOs, with over 3000 membership emphasised ‘disclosure is central to accountability’. In fact, according to him, those who are unwilling to disclose essential information the Public needs should not become actor in the space.  Seyi Oyebisi also affirmed accountability is not just about money, it is more about process, structures. Any civil Society which does not prioritise accountability issues has no regard for its future. Every Civil society has start up , sustainability as well as  plateau years. The start-up age is between 0-10 years, sustainability for many is around 20-30 and plateau may start early for many from 25 years. It will take strong accountability, integrity for any civil society to be sustained at any stage of its development. According to Seyi Oyebisi, ‘‘aside money, accountability demands a conscious knowledge of statutory policies but more importantly, it is expedient civil society practice what they say’’. Amina Frenze, who is the former chair of Institute for Advanced Journalism South Africa, affirmed ‘‘beyond anything else, documentation and integrity are the bedrocks of every accountability process’’. Adding a new thought, Amina Frense said documentation may be good but anyone who forgets integrity will miss the opportunity for growth in the non-profit, civil society space. While welcoming participants, Yinka Olaito, the Executive Director as well as project director of the hosting organizations believed now is the time to step up conversation around accountability issue within the non-profit and Civil Society space.  Yinka Olaito believes, we are within uncertain times and only credible civil society which can truly and openly shows it credibility, integrity will survive the time.  The programme was anchored by Dr Suraj Olunifesi who is a Senior Lecturer at the Mass Communications Department, University Of Lagos Nigeria   
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