In a historic event held at Cowan Hall, Sabon-Barki, Jos-South, Plateau State, civil society leaders gathered for the inaugural and swearing-in ceremony of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Forum’s Care-Taker Committees. The ceremony, held on the International Day of Peace, saw Rev. Chris Damcher, Chairman of the CSOs Forum, and Honorable OJ Afwanks, the CSOs Coordination Convener, deliver significant speeches.
Rev. Chris Damcher, in his address, expressed his delight at addressing the audience and underscored the importance of the inaugural ceremony of the Civil Society Organizations Forum in Plateau State. He noted the historical challenges faced by the civil society space in the state, highlighting the absence of a unified platform for coordinating various thematic interventions without conflicts.
The Chairman recognized the substantial contributions made by CSOs in Plateau State, including their role in complementing government efforts in community development and job creation, especially for the citizens of Plateau State. He lauded their efforts in addressing developmental issues and empowering vulnerable populations in the state.
Rev. Damcher also addressed the misconceptions and negative comments from various government agencies and development partners regarding the role of CSOs in the state. He emphasized that CSOs have made significant contributions in areas such as healthcare, education, peace-building, conflict resolution, security, agriculture, gender issues, and skills development.
Highlighting the vibrant CSO landscape in Plateau State, he revealed that there are nearly 30 CSO networks operating in the region. The process leading to the nomination and endorsement of the present Care-Taker Committee saw the participation of 25 network heads, demonstrating the collective effort to establish the CSOs Forum in the state.
One of the key announcements made during the inaugural ceremony was the unanimous decision that any network or coalition of CSOs not affiliated with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Forum in Plateau State would not be recognized for any transactions within the 17 local government areas of the state.
Rev. Chris Damcher urged all CSO members to cooperate with the new structure of the CSOs in the state to facilitate effective operations and progressive collaboration with various stakeholders, including government agencies, development partners, security agencies, traditional councils, religious bodies, media organizations, and others.
Hon. OJ Afwanks, the CSOs Coordination Convener, also delivered an address, expressing gratitude for the support and cooperation received from civil society network leaders. He highlighted the significance of the event in bringing unity, peace, and progress to the civil society space in Plateau State.
He congratulated the newly appointed leaders of CSOs in Plateau State, acknowledging the high expectations placed upon them. Hon. OJ Afwanks stressed the importance of the CSOs’ role in protecting the rights and privileges of citizens, promoting open governance, probity, accountability, and inclusion.
The inauguration of the Care-Taker EXCO of CSOs in Plateau State marked a significant step towards unity and collaboration among civil society organizations, with the shared goal of promoting peace, development, and good governance in the region. The event, coinciding with the International Day of Peace, symbolized a new era of cooperation and progress for Plateau State’s civil society.