Tag Archives: media watch

IPC/ACTIONAID launches community development charter in Lagos

>By Funmi Falobi and Tobi Oyetunde<

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As part of efforts to ensure community driven development at the grassroots, the International Press Centre (IPC), has launched community development charters for Lagos communities. The charter, otherwise called village book, captures the community profile and summary of development aspirations of grassroot communities following series of community led engagements facilitated by IPC in 18 communities across six local government areas of Lagos State with the support of Actionaid Nigeria and the Department for International Development DFID/UKaid, under a democratic governance initiative tagged: Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process (SCEEP).

Speaking at the public presentation of the charters to the first set of three communities in Lagos, namely, Erejuwa-Makoko, Otumara-Ilaje and Isale-Iwaya in Lagos Mainland Local Government, the Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade noted that there was the need for the media to do more in community reporting to aid grassroot development.

“The media doesn’t really cover the grassroots citizens and what happen there. So there is a need to change the orientation of journalists. They should not only report campaign before election but do follow up after the election. This is called solution driven rural community reporting”.

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Highlighting the importance of the charter, Vanessa Edhebru, representing Actionaid said that the charter is to see that the excluded people stand a chance to partake in development process and that’s why the reflective methodology action was used to get the voice and wish of the people. She declared that the charter “will help to avert violence in the act of getting recognition and also give the people room to represent themselves in a way that the government will know that they know what they are doing.”

 

In his keynote address entitled “Enhancing Grassroots Development, Integrating Community Stakeholder in Governance” Mr. Adeola Soetan, National Coordinator, Democracy Vanguard enjoined the people to be participatory active citizenry by being sensitive to how they are governed and be pro-active by participating in government.

He implored community members to know what is right for them and be more conversant with their grassroots government. He explained that since various communities in their varied forms and formats constitute the building blocks of local government, the local government as the nearest to the people becomes the most important tier of government.

“Democracy without grassroots development is like tea without sugar or honey. Community should be the basic unit of development by virtue of the fact that this is where the overwhelming majority of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable who mostly need the basic essentials of life are”, he said.

According to him, it is better for people to know what they want than what the government thinks they want.

“Democracy should be like a pyramid that starts from the grassroots. People should be more concerned with what is happening in their communities than focusing on the federal.

“People should always put pressure on the government and themselves by monitoring budgets and projects, have a balanced agenda and ensure that everybody is involved in government. They should hold regular meetings with elected/appointed representatives to assess performance, evaluate feedback for effective information dissemination and useful communication management between government and the governed,” he said.

 

Receiving copies of the charter, the Executive Secretary of Lagos Mainland, Mrs. Essien Rashidah Omolola stated thus; “these papers and lists of what the people want will surely get to our leaders. Everybody should join hands and work hard to build and develop the communities.”

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Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State on Community Development Affairs and State Chairman, Lagos State Community Development Advisory Committee, Alhaji. Tajudeen Quadri noted that Lagosians have demonstrated yearning for basic amenities and not money, adding that it was the desire of government to meet the needs of the people.

“This present government is community driven, hence, the people should say whatever they want and the government will do it for them”, he said as he urged community members to also put in place measures to supervise the maintenance of newly constructed projects.

 

Commending the initiative, participants urged government at the local level to look into their needs in order to speed up development in their respective communities. Commenting on the development needs of the grassroot communities, the Baale of Otumara, Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye stressed the need for a health centre in Otumara community. He said: “as big as Otumara is, there is no health centre and we need a health centre in Otumara.”

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Corruption: Be the watchdog, Owasanoye urges media

By Funmi Falobi

 

Nigerian media have been urged to serve as catalyst for nation building and anti-corruption watchdog in order to entrench transparency and accountability in governance.

 Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) stated this at a tweet-a-thon organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) with support of Public Affairs Section U.S Consulate General, Lagos held in Lagos.

 

Speaking on the theme entitled ‘The State of Transparency and Accountability in Nigeria: Issues for Media Digest and understanding’, Owasanoye who was represented by Mr. Jake Effoduh, the Programme Officer, PACAC, said that the media have a very vital role in assisting Nigeria to reposition itself as a country with a strong commitment to good governance by playing an important role of making public officers accountable to the Nigerian people.

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“At this point where we are as a nation, we need the media to ceaselessly disseminate information about the developmental costs and evils of corruption in our society. We need the media to re-embrace its fundamental role, not only of performing checks and balances on the other three arms in the process of governance, but to also interpret the activities, programs and policies of government to the citizens,” he said.

 

According to him, transparency and accountability are fundamental pillars of any democratically elected government, noting that this is where the media comes in: as a catalyst for nation building and as an anti-corruption watchdog.

 

“I must say that the Nigerian Media, though limited in resources, have managed to keep up to its constitutional mandate quite remarkably. The media has reported corruption cases extensively, and as a result, today, the government is more accountable to its people. Also, citizens have gained insights from the continuous featuring of corruption stories, and the publication of government’s anti-corruption efforts. Notwithstanding these wins, there’s more to do”.

 He declared: “55 Nigerians stole N1.4tr within seven years and this can tar 640km of roads, build 36 ultra modern hospitals, sponsor 4,000 children from primary school to tertiary institution and construct 2,000 housing units.”

 He therefore urged the media not to rest on its oars but to ‘ceaselessly disseminate information about the developmental costs and evils of corruption in our society’.

 

In his address, IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade charged journalists to take advantage of the event and improve on robust engagement. “The objective of the media transparency watch project is to promote media and public dialogue on the imperative of transparency, accountability and anti corruption for good governance in Nigeria and as well as enrich the content of media reports on transparency issues among others.”

 

Contributing to the discourse, Deputy Editor, Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Eze Anaba lamented that the challenge before the media in holding government accountable is now so huge as the economic situation in the country has also affected the media. He explained that most newspapers have dropped pages because of the cost of procuring newsprint, which is not available in Nigeria and have to be sourced abroad.

 

“If you cannot meet your family obligation, is it newspapers you will spend on? This is why the media has allowed itself to be dulled to semi consciousness and letting the government go with a lot of things”, he noted.

 

On her part, Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos Chapter, Mrs. Sekina Lawal tasked the media to speak with one voice so as to be able to address issues in unity. She stated further that the media should endeavour to do exclusive stories because an average Nigerian could easily predict what to see next in the paper.

 According to her, that the media is termed ‘the fourth estate of the realm’ is not just for that sake, noting that it is not an easy task to be the watchdog of the society. She therefore urged journalists’ body; the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors, etc, to speak with same voice adding that “ when the media is well taken care of, that is when journalists can take issues up.”

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