Community leaders in Ifako Ijaiye area of Lagos state have been enlightened on how best to channel their demands in order to make government more accountable and responsive to their needs. International Press Centre (IPC) and Actionaid, under the project tagged; “Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process” (SCEEP) made the enlightenment during one-day advocacy training
Community leaders in Ifako Ijaiye area of Lagos state have been enlightened on how best to channel their demands in order to make government more accountable and responsive to their needs.
International Press Centre (IPC) and Actionaid, under the project tagged; “Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process” (SCEEP) made the enlightenment during one-day advocacy training for community leaders from Unity Community Development Association, Ifako Titun and Coker Akosota areas of Ifako Ijaiye.
Speaking at the programme, Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), Wale Adeoye said the programme is an attempt to develop capacity for community leaders in order to educate and share experiences with them on how to make government more accountable to the people.
He also said, it is an opportunity to strengthen people’s understanding of governance and how they can develop the framework for participatory democracy.
“Often times we discover that democracy should be about the people but in the real sense it can only be about the people when the people themselves understand their rights and obligation and they are ready to explore the entire constitutional framework to advance their course.
“At the end of the day we hope we are going to have an enlightened community that will be able to take on the government and ensure that the government does what is right,” he said.
Also, a legal practitioner and a human rights advocate, Mrs. Nihinola Aluko-Olokun, while speaking on “Understanding The Legal Rights of Citizens to Demand and Advocate for Infrastructural Development” told the participants that they have rights and obligations to the government and that the government cannot do it alone.
According to her, it is the responsibility of government to collaborate with the citizens in the governance of a country, since in democracy; it is government of the people, for the people and by the people.
She however said the people have not been able to exercise their right to a large extent, that is why we have a docile community.
Her words: “There are just a handful of people trying to educate, there is mass poverty and illiteracy, and when there is poverty, you are likely to just think of how you are going to survive everyday so that is why the society is like this, a lot of people are just after what they can get in a day, and not even a week – they can’t think far.”
Sanmi Falobi, Programme Associate, IPC who is also SCEEP Officer stated that the programme is a continuation of their election related programme which started towards the election to raise citizen’s consciousness to participate in the electoral process.
He said having had a successful election, the project continues to engage the citizens on the roles they need to play in ensuring that their development demands are met by those who are in position of government.
“What we are doing with this advocacy training for communities in Ifako Ijaiye is on how they can organize themselves and meet their local administrator and engage with them, and what the local administrator can do to meet their demands.
(c) Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase @ Daily Independent Newspaper.