Lagos State grassroots leaders seek end to citizens harassment, godfathers’ imposition
Community leaders in Lagos State have asked political office holders to eschew increasing harassment of the people and ensure that the state’s resources were judiciously applied for the benefit of all.
They lauded the development strides of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, but decried the growing social costs of the government’s urban renewal policies, particularly on the poor, which they say has been catastrophic and sometimes give the impression that Lagos was for the rich only.
Rising from a four-day training programme organised in Badagry by the Community Life Project (CLP), with support from Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), the leaders urged the government to be mindful of community interests and carry them along in policy formulation and implementation.
The essence of government, they stressed, was for the wellbeing of the citizens.
Secretary, National Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Lagos Island branch, Wole Ipadeola, who referred to the recent demolition of several settlements inhabited by the poor, added:
“Public officials should not carry on as if the people do not matter. When you formulate policies that exclude the poor people, you are stepping on dangerous path.”
His view was reinforced by the Public Relations Officer of NATA, Kosofe Local Council, Gbenga Agbeja, who said their members at Akanimodo, Ketu Mile 12 have been waiting since 2012 to be allocated a mechanic village despite inspection by officials of the ministries of the environment, transportation and the Department of Physical Planning.
They also demanded for an end to what they described as the rule, orders and impunity of political godfathers, which they argue negate the entry of humane, honest and God fearing leaders who will genuinely work for the people.
Yemisi Oshifade, zonal head, National Association of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists (NAHSCO), Ketu Tipper One, who revealed how some of the godfathers virtually barter away the vote of whole communities said: “If you think you can go and complain to people, they will tell you that they have already paid for the votes of your community. How then do you retrieve your birthright? She queried.
Others who spoke stressed the fact that grassroots leaders needed to work in concert to check the antics of the godfathers, arguing that the loss of the candidates of the godfathers in Ikorodu and Mushin, arising from the decision of angry party members to vote for opposition candidates, was a pointer that they were not invincible after all.
Deputy Director of CLP Chuks Ojidor, said the programme was organised to ensure citizens’ participation in governance.
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