Activist to grassroots leaders: Document, follow up on politicians’ promises




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Human rights activist and journalist, Mr. Ayo Aluko-Olokun has called on Nigerians to engage politicians on development issues rather than demanding for physical cash which is transient.

Aluko-Olokun made this call at the launch of Community Development Charter at FESTAC town, Lagos last week.

The publications, published by media NGO, International Press Centre (IPC) in conjunction with Action Aid and UK Aid were presented to Abule Ado, Itu Agan and Iyagbe communities all in the Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State at the Local Government Secretariat in FESTAC town.

The charter is expected to make it easy for members of the communities to channel their developmental needs logically, peacefully and to monitor such developmental issues to better the lot of people of the grassroots.

Aluko-Olokun, who was the main speaker during the engagement enjoined the people never to take development issues lightly because that is their main need and not ephemeral things.

Chairman of media outfit, Tribond Communications, Aluko-Olokun noted that poverty is biting hard in the land and it has made the people to lose their sense of decency.

On how the grassroots people can engage the government, the former business editor said “That’s a difficult thing. With the situation of the economy in Nigeria, people are so impoverished and when politicians give them N5,000 it  will feel as if they have been given a million naira.”

The activist added that, “Once the issue of development and self-sustenance are addressed, when people are self-reliance and empowered, they would damn politicians’ N5,000 and demand things that can better their lives, future and future of their children. I don’t think anybody can decree that people should not take money because the people are poor, it is too bad.”

Aluko-Olokun also advised the people to document promises of politicians, he also advised them to approach the government as a group and ensure they follow up their demands with letters.

“You must be organised and then approach the government as a group, that will make you stronger,” he said.

He added that, “In requesting your demand from government, you must not give up but keep following up with letters until the need is met and in dealing with government you must not go with the intention of violence or fighting, but you must present your case logically in order to get what you need.”

In addition, Aluko-Olokun advised that the people may initiate a project and later involve the government. “You can even begin a project on your own and then draw attention of the government later to tell them what is needed to complete it,” he advised.

In his own submission, Sanmi Falobi of the International Press Centre also advised the three communities to make use of the community development charter to ensure development of their communities.

“Use the Community Development Charter to engage the aspirants ahead of the upcoming Local Government elections. It is your book, it is a weapon in your hand. Read it, understand it and show the aspirants. Let them tick what they can do among the needs you present, show them the book, they understand it better than you think,” he encouraged.

Story by Dayo Emmanuel

Post Author: Dayo Emmanuel