The communities of Makoko, a sub area of Lagos Mainland has been thrown into joy as the International Press Centre (IPC) with the support of the UKaid and ActionAid to provide a lasting solution through launching of community books, which consist of needs to achieve their development aspirations.
The community book, tagged ‘Community Development Charter’ focused on Isale Iwaya, Erejuwa and Otumara all in Makoko were unveiled at a programme titled ‘Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process’ (SCEEP) in Lagos.
The communities had been facing challenges of bad roads, equipment for health centres, provision of secondary schools, more electric poles among others over the years, where they could not find solution to the problem.
The book’s objectives is to showcase information of Isale Iwaya, Erejuwa and Otumara communities contributing to the reduction of poverty and risks in the development at individual and family levels; and bring the experience, knowledge and aspirations of communities in one document for easy reading to public attention that will lead to the development of the community.
Speaking at the event, the Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said his aim of assisting the communities is to enable the government provide their essential needs in the area, which seems to have been forgotten after many reports on the happening disaster.
While giving a past experience on their book project in some communities being successful, he said the purpose of launching the community book in Makoko town was to call the government attention to the rural area to provide necessary needs in order to ease their living.
Arogundade appealed to the media and organisations to do an effective reporting on rural areas as it would help government to pay adequate attention on the area and provide them with necessary needs.
During an interactive session, the community people lamented that they are only remembered during election periods where they ask for their votes but after that they fail with all the promises made concerning their welfare and other social amenities.
The communities also appealed to the government to remember development in the rural area because they are total left out of the agenda.
National Coordinator, Democracy Vanguard, Adeola Soetan said a bottom to top approach to development and good governance is the best way for the country.
He encouraged the communities to appreciate the civic roles, responsibilities and enormous constitutional power they have and assert on their government at the grassroots level as citizens and electors to who government is primarily put in place to serve.
Soetan stressed that communities should mobilise the government to be active participants on how they want to be governed, which includes involvement and input of budget preparations and tracking, choice of developmental projects, monitoring projects and contractors.
He advised them to have regular meetings with elected/appointed representatives to assess performance, evaluate feedback for effective information dissemination and useful communication management between government and the governed.
He added that to achieve the goals stated above, the roles of Community Development Authority (CDA), Landlord and tenant association, youth and student groups, trade unions and artisan groups, market women, media and civil society groups should focus on democracy.
The Executive Secretary, Mainland Local Government, Omolola Essien assured cooperation and good governance towards the communities which are in Mainland and Yaba axis.
Other objectives of the book are to generate baseline data for the outcome indicators on IPC/ActionAid’s strategies; and information on the contexts of the community as a basis for the development and by means of achievement, the process was said to include community visits, daily debriefing meetings with the partner team and community facilitators, final debriefing/validation meeting and development of report on findings.