The Nigerian Media participatory and oversight roles in national grassroots’ community development was again exemplified during a one- day programme co-funded by European Union (EU), Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) and the British Council and coordinated recently by the International Press Centre (IPC).
The programme tagged: “One-Day Results Harvesting and Peer Learning Forum on Using Media for Community Development” was held in the IPC Hall at Ogba, Ikeja.
Community representatives from Lagos Mainland Local Government, Ikorodu Local Government and Alimosho Local Government as well as gentlemen of the press were present as stakeholders at the forum.
In his welcome address, the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade explained the role of media in Community Development.
He stated that the government had respect for the media and would not want any form of negative media report.
The first session dealt with Results Harvesting/Progress Report from Community representatives.
Reporting as a representative of communities in Lagos Mainland, Alhaji Adisa expressed gratitude to IPC and its sponsors for giving them the trainings that emboldens them to meet with the government officials.
According to him, their meeting with the people in authority had helped them to tackle some of the challenges facing the Lagos Mainland Communities.
•Water Supply which has been a major challenge in the area is currently being addressed with the sinking of 20 bore-holes in all the wards in the Lagos Mainland Local Government.
•Security challenge in Okobaba and Oyingbo areas has drastically reduced after the community representatives had discussed with the new DPO at Denton Police Station. Four additional security buses have been acquired, and the security patrol team now has 6 buses for operation.
•On youth engagement, the representatives were referred to Mr. Adeniran by the SA Sports. The outcome of the meeting with Mr. Adeniran is the promise by the government to build a stadium at Okobaba.
•Plan is underway to build more schools for the community. To this effect, land area has been spotted but people around the area are currently putting up resistance.
Mr. Femi Adeyemi spoke as a representative from Alimosho Local Government communities. However, his report covers Abesan Estate.
So far so good, the representatives of Abesan Estate have taken bold steps geared towards the development of the community.
•They have met with 4 councilors to discuss the need to provide them with health centre.
•Media have been helpful in strengthening the relationship between the people of the community with the Chairman of Alimosho Local Government.
•Security was a great problem in Alimosho Local Government and Abesan in particular. Something is currently being done concerning the issue.
•On 5th October 2022, Tokunbo Abiru was invited to the community. This saved the community from impending epidemic that would have arisen from sewage.
•There were so many more infrastructural issues in Abesan but government has now woken up to its responsibility.
“Our appreciation therefore goes to IPC and its sponsors,” he said.
Reporting for the communities in Ikorodu Local Government, Mr. Olawuyi Ajala expressed gratitude to God and for the IPC training on advocacy.
According to him:
•The community has formed a group called “Ambassador for Good Governance”.
•The group has so far engaged councilors and other government officials in fruitful discussions.
•Now there is Police Station at Araromi Ward E4 and Link Bridge under construction is almost completed to help decongest traffic.
•Hon. Jimi Benson has helped the community by renovating some blocks in two school.
Dr. Tunde Akanni from School of Communication, Lagos State University spoke extensively on ”Understanding and Engaging the Media for Community Development Aspirations”.
He explained that the role of research, advocacy and campaigns can be deployed towards achieving the desired goal in the development of a community. He also emphasised the need for community leaders to always be in close contact with the media men and to appreciate them as well.
After an interactive session that gave room for questions and comments, the National Coordinator, Democracy Vanguard, Mr. Adeola Soetan gave hints of how community representatives could+ consolidate on the level they have so far attained.
Bringing the programme to a close, Mr. Lanre Arogundade advised community leaders to always employ appreciative engagement while dealing with the people in authority as this will give them more results. He also stressed further that the media was +key in the publicity of community activities.