Representatives of various communities in Lagos State defied Thursday’s downpour to attend a day state-level Community Development Committee learning workshop organised by the International Press Centre with support of ActionAid Nigeria and UKAid.
The workshop held at the Nigerian Railway Recreation Club, Ebute Metta, Lagos was an opportunity for community representatives within the Lagos metropolis to share experiences, ideas, learn new skills in community development and grassroots engagement.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Community Life Project, Mrs. Ngozi Iwere asked participants to further join the government and participate in the development of their various communities.
Iwere particularly enjoined participants to participate in the forthcoming Local Government elections in the state where they would elect officers to run the affairs of the Local Councils.
The lead speaker at the one day learning workshop engaged participants on sharing experiences, success stories and impart of efforts by Lagos Communities in facilitating social provisioning and the use of community development charter.
“Participate in all elections especially the local government election because the Local Government is the closest to the grassroots where a lot of change can happen,” she admonished.
She added that “Whether political parties impose candidates or not, we have to come out to vote because once we participate in the election process, we would have the boldness to take elected office holders to task on issues.”
She also encouraged the participants to make use of their social capital which include goodwill and ability to identify with political office holders to ask questions and create robust engagement on development issues.
“You must know your representatives in government, you must know their parents within your communities and relate with them well, this will create a good relationship which makes it easier to engage them on the salient community needs,” she added.
Community representatives took turn to share their experience in their involvement in the development activities in their various communities.
Mrs. Prudence Abass is the Assistant Secretary, Community Developments Committee (CDC), a larger body of the Community Development Association (CDA) in Lagos Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. Abass told National Wire the commitment of the IPC in ensuring the residents of communities in Lagos State are carried along in the development plans of the state government.
“For some years IPC with support from ActionAid and UKAid have been sensitising us on various issues concerning our communities,” she said, adding that, “They have taught us a lot of things especially about getting involved in government’s operations as it concern us.”
“You can see the large turnout here at Ebute Metta despite the rains. Irrespective of the rain just because IPC and their partners have impacted the communities, they have taught us to demand our rights from the government in the most logical and polite ways.
“The government sometimes do projects without carrying the communities along but now there is community participation where we tell them what we need most before they commence allocating projects. We have been taught how to participate in the budget proposals and we are better for it,” she said.
A community representative Prince Adebisi Emmanuel from Ikorodu area at the event also shared his experience with National Wire. “For some time now we have been having security challenges in Ikorodu area like you must have heard,” he said, stating further that, “Many people have abandoned their homes and presently on a daily basis we don’t sleep at nights because of the cultists called Badoo in Ikorodu.”
The senior citizen who retired from the Nigerian Army as a Major said, “I am the Chief Security Officer in my area and chairman of five CDAs.
The cult group started gradually and the police were informed but they didn’t act fast until it took everybody by storm. The evil people now use the water ways which are not protected.”
Appreciating the police in maintaining the peace and snuffing out the cultist gradually, the retired Major said, “We have formed various vigilance groups that mount guard throughout the night, we are