With development taking new sphere that determines the total wellbeing of the people irrespective of where they live and what they do, the International Press Centre with the support of Action Aid Nigeria and Department for International Development has launched and provided Community Development Charter for the people of Coker Akosota, Unity City, and Ifako Titun all in Ifako Local Government Area of Lagos under the Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Electoral Process (SCEEP)
Speaking during the launch of the charter, the Executive Director of International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade said that the basic intention of the charter is to showcase information about the communities that can contribute to the reduction of poverty and risks in the development process at individual and family levels which will lead to the development of the communities.
He mentioned further that the charter is neither for IPC nor for the government but for the people living in the three communities to bring to public attention the experience, knowledge and aspirations of the communities in one document to be able to make government accountable on their activities.
In his keynote address that was titled “Grassroot Development and How Elected Officials and Community Members Can Engage to Enhance Infrastructural Development”, Segun Ajayi, Chairman, National Union of Teachers in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government said “what IPC is doing is a laudable initiative to launch the communities to where exactly they should be when it comes to infrastructural development and a step forward of what they have been doing before.
“They ran a project around electoral monitoring during the election which opened their eyes for the organisation to report issues around electoral process,” he said.
He mentioned that the Centre came about building the communities around issues that affect the them which makes them to fill the vacuum that is opening to inform the people on how to develop their communities.
On the charter, Ajayi who is also known as ‘Daggar Tolar’ said that charter is not just a book but a book that will help them to know what to do to develop their communities and to take government responsible.
“They must learn how to work together and how to make things for themselves. The charter does not mean that all their needs will be provided, they still need to orientate themselves on how to use the charter for their benefits, they must understand the processes on how to make these things happen”, he said.
Representing the Council Chairman, Amballi Danusa Noel revealed that what IPC has done is rare in the council.
According to him, “I have not seen Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that engage citizens on community development like this and have the mind for people in the grassroots.”
Noel who is the Head of Department of Agriculture and Social Development Services said that the council will support the communities in providing social amenities within the budget of the council.
He explained that local government is the third tear of the government closer to the people in community and “our function is to serve them what they deserve.”
The Iyaloja General of Ifako Ijaiye Local Government, Chief Mrs. Doyin Coker Ogunbiyi, appreciated the effort IPC to make effort to make them closer to the government.
“What they have come to do here is a big achievement to show our concern and love ourselves in the council for us to be able to express ourselves, it is not that government has forgotten us but we must tell them what we want and this program has provided the platform.”
Ogunbiyi called on the government to fence markets in the council to ensure safety of market women, provide public toilet and creche where children can learn after their schools in the market with clinic in the markets.
In his own contribution, Pa Anthony Olufunsho Coker said that he will intensified the campaign in the community to inform people on what the charter is all about and how to use it for the development of the communities.
“When we get back home, we will call a meeting and tell them what the charter is all about and how they can utilize it to know their rights and what they want from government”.