By Mary Agidi
The Restoration of the Dignity of Womanhood, ROTDOW, one of the non-governmental organisations saddled with the responsibility of executing the United Nations projects in Ondo State has organised a town hall meeting for sustainable citizen participation in Okitipupa Local Government area of the State.
The town hall meeting is in fulfilment of the processes involved in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to execute the project tagged “Sustainable Citizen Participation SCP in Nigeria Niger Delta States”, whereby communities will be allowed to dictate which project they prefer using UN Democracy Fund, UNDEF.
ROTDOW, being one of the sub-recipient of Afrihealth Optonet Association’s funded-UNDEF project, a network of Civil Society championing the project, therefore commenced the implementation activities in Idepe Okitipupa local government area of the state with people of the area led by the Jegun of Idepe, Oba Michael Obatugba Adetoye.
Addressing them on the purpose of the meeting, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of ROTDOW, Mrs. S. O. Omolona explained that SCP means that citizens will be able to engage with government on a regular and sustained basis.
Her words: “Currently citizens are only able to interact with leaders and politicians at the leader’s leisure.
“For example, during an election the candidate will campaign for the people’s support by meeting with people, speaking with them and being open and available to them.
“But once in office, these leaders who once have so much time for the people become unaccountable and cold. They want the people to vote for them but once the election is over the people’s voice means nothing.
“This project seeks to change that, by pushing for SCP, this project hopes to make leaders accountable every day they are in office.
“This project hopes that elected offices being held accountable will result in better politics and more promises being kept.
” This project seeks to promote a concept sustainable citizen participation (SCP) i.e the institutionalisation of citizen participation in local governance decision making, development and democratic processes in Okitipupa Local government, one of the local governments in 18 LGAs in nine states in Niger Delta.
She added that the UN project is to establish 20 Community Consultative Committees (cccs) in order to formulate the SCP Plants of Actions (POAs).
Omolona however solicited the cooperation of the people throughout the duration of the project and expressed optimism that the project chosen by the community by the end of of year 2018.
It would be recalled that, sometime in June 2017, the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of Afrihealth, Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje while briefing Journalists in Akure noted that the UN programme tagged ‘Sustainable Citizens Participation ‘ is targeted at Niger Delta States in Nigeria for empowerment.
According to him, a total amount of $240,000 was earmarked for projects in Nigeria, adding that projects to be executed in the selected communities will be decided by members of such communities through a Community Consultative Committee which is to be constituted at a town hall meeting to be held in respect of the programme.
He noted that the programme which his association, a Civil Society Organisations network is championing is to be implemented using the United Nations’ Democracy Fund and will covers three local governments in each of the three senatorial districts of the State.
Dr. Adirieje noted that as part of activities to implement the projects which must all be in line with the UN Sustainable Developmental Goals, 22 people comprising two representatives from each of the nine member organisations, three persons serving as Zonal coordinators, and the state Coordinator of the project.
As the National Coordinator of the programme, Adirijie added that these 22 will be trained as master trainers and will in turn move to the selected communities and train them.
He explained that the benefiting local government areas and communities will be selected by the state government and the communities will on their own decide the project that is important and of priority to them.
Stakeholders at the meeting include the . the Jegun of Idepe who was represented by High Chief Sanumi, while the quarters were represented by their chiefs with the Iyaloja of Idepe Chief Mrs. Dorcas Alailedoye in attendance.
The artisan were also represented, and in the course of the meeting 20 Community Consultative Committee were inaugurated.
The community people mentioned three key projects according to their priority which are Oba palace, Rural Road project for easy movements of their produce to the town, Empowernment for the Youth, and the meeting was attended by 50 people 25 male, 25 females.