Connect with government on grassroot development, Lagosians urged

By Funmi Falobi-

Lagos residents have been urged to be involved in government activities in order to bring development to their communities.

This was disclosed at the public presentation of Community Development charter for three communities; Obele Oniwala, Isokan, and Aiyetoro communities in Surulere local government area of Lagos State. The programme was organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) with support of UKAID and ActionAid Nigeria.

Speaking on the topic entitled “Enhancing Grassroots Development: Bridging the Gaps Between Government and Community Stakeholders” Abiodun Aremu, rights activist and Secretary General, Joint Action Forum (JAF) said people must be interested in what is happening around them for development to take place in their communities.

“Development must start with self. You must have interest in what is happening for development to take place in your communities”, he said.

He called on the grassroot community stakeholders to appreciate the enormous constitutional power they have and that they can use that to make government develop the grassroot communities.  According to him: “Development works when it is for all of us. Our community’s values have broken down so we have to get them back”.

He noted that it takes community effort to get development at the grass root. “As grassroots people, we must first recover our values. Anything we want, we must get it from Government and they are not doing us any favour”.

He urged the government to always consult with community members before implementing its policies. “Every development and policies must come from the people and that is how people living in communities can be further empowered to drive development”. He said.

“The poor man has one vote, the rich man has one vote, if the vote is equal, development should be equal” he added.

Similarly, the Chairman of Community Development Association in Surulere Local Government, Abayomi Balogun, corroborated that there can never be democracy without grassroots participation and development.

“Grassroots development is very important and that is why the local government election coming is our election. The state and the federal elections in the country are not our elections; the local government election is our election because that is the tier of government that collects all sorts of levies and taxes from us, so we must be involved,” he said.

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Celebrating Funke Egbemode as NGE President

-By FUNMI FALOBI-

Female journalists in Nigeria do have reasons to hold up their head in high esteem following the recent election of Mrs. Funke Egbemode as the substantive president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) at the guild’s 12th annual conference in Port Harcourt

Egbemode, who is the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, New Telegraph Newspaper, becomes the second female journalist after late Mrs. Remi Oyo who was president of the guild between1999 and 2003.

Speaking on her confirmation, the astute journalist who in July was nominated president in acting capacity declared: “For the time I will be in the saddle, the guild will change for the better, will become more visible.”

Expressing her gratitude, she said, “I feel honoured and I feel like that I have just been handed a big responsibility, like a big board that must not drop. I urge members to keep the flag flying. We have done very well as a body. We should continue to do things that will elevate the Guild, whatever will promote journalism, whatever that will promote the body.”

Those who are familiar with her, describe her as a seasoned journalist who has worked in different media houses at the top management level. Egbemode started her career as a staff writer in the defunct Prime People magazine. She moved to The Punch in 1993 where she rose to become the Deputy Features Editor. In 2000, she was appointed Editor of The Post Express on Saturday. She was also the pioneer Saturday Editor, Independent Newspaper; Sunday Editor, The Sun Newspaper and later General Editor of the newspapers, a position she held until her appointment as Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the New Telegraph Newspapers in 2015. She had also served as the Special Adviser (Media) to the former Speaker, House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh.

Born in Ijabe, Osun State, Egbemode attended Baptist Practising Primary School, Iwo and Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. She also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos.

In a congratulatory message, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode described her emergence as an inspiration to other women.  “I have no doubt in my mind that the cap fits Mrs. Egbemode. She has a proven track record of excellence in journalism, which has seen her rise through the ranks to the pinnacle of the profession”, the Governor said.   “I urge Mrs. Egbemode to see her new assignment as one that comes at a time in our national life where we need the media to be more circumspect and developmental in playing its role as the watchdog of the society,” he added.

The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, described her emergence as “a square peg in a square hole”. He noted, “Mrs. Egbemode is not just a technocrat and media executive of repute, she is a professional par excellence. She is a living example of the saying that ‘what men can do, women can do better.”

The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun described her emergence as “a well deserved honour.” He noted: “Anyone who has followed the career path of Egbemode over the years will not be surprised at how far she has come in her chosen profession of journalism.”

Hope rises for IDPs as U.S. provides assistance to Lake Chad Basin Region

> By FUNMI FALOBI<

 

Reprieve is in the offing for over five million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as the United States government, through its Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday announced that it will provide more than $37 million in additional humanitarian assistance to people affected by the ongoing conflict and severe food insecurity in Nigeria and throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

The new funding to United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) partners will help tens of thousands of people receive critically needed humanitarian assistance, including food, water, shelter, and services to address acute hygiene, protection, and nutritional needs following the savagery of Boko Haram which has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria and surrounding countries in the Lake Chad Basin region.. Despite gradually improving security conditions, the humanitarian situation remains dire as families have been driven from their homes, millions are left without enough to eat, and human rights abuses are widespread. Throughout the region, approximately five million people need emergency food assistance, and 2.5 million people are displaced.

Three senior USAID officials—Nigeria Mission Director Michael Harvey, U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Director Jeremy Konyndyk and Office of Food for Peace Deputy Director Matt Nims—made the announcement following a trip to the country’s northeast, where the humanitarian needs are the most acute. With this announcement, the United States is providing more than $318 million in humanitarian assistance since FY 2015 to the Lake Chad Basin region and continues to be the single largest humanitarian donor to the region. The food assistance will be delivered to conflict-affected communities in the Diffa Region of Niger, including populations who fled their homes following the recent attacks in Bosso. This new food assistance will be coordinated with the humanitarian community in Nigeria to scale up the overall regional food response.

In addition to humanitarian funding, USAID provides targeted assistance that seeks to reduce extreme poverty and improve the quality of life for Nigeria’s most vulnerable communities through improved governance and civic participation at the federal, state, and local levels; reduced corruption; a strengthened private sector as a source of job creation; and improved quality of social service delivery.

 

Photo L-R: NEMA DG Muhammed Sani Sidi and USAID Director of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Jeremy Konyndyk.