UGOCHI NWAGBO writes that participants at a one day workshop on Legislative Advocacy Project titled “Community and Legislative members interactive Platform Project” (CLIP Project) organized by the Justice Development and Peace Caritas, Awka has ended in Awka with a call for a robust advocacy for effective communication between communities and their state House of Assembly representatives on community development project.
This, the participants numbering over 100 argued would assist the communities in taking part in making decisions that affect their lives and raise their voices to demand for the rights and services to which they are entitled.
The participants drawn from six constituencies as pilot constituencies including Awka South 1 and 2, Awka North, Dunukofia , Orumba North and Orumba South agreed to carry out advocacy visits for local government autonomy, Disability Rights Bill, Budgeting and constituency office issues.
The CLIP project funded by Catholic Caritas Foundation/Caritas Nigeria which will last for five (5) months between April and August this year, according to the CLIP Project Program Officer, Mr Ololo Onyekachi Sam is expected to build a strong and sustainable link between legislators and their community members, thereby developing capacities of stakeholders being able to develop their own means of effectively communicating with their representatives.
This according to Ololo, will stimulate the process of governance as the project shall amplify citizens’ voice and build their capacity to demand for their right from duty bearers using community groups and stakeholders.
He said their target was to create established and functional platform for continuous citizens’ engagement by legislators and increased community members participation and involvement in decision making processes in communities.
Mr Ololo , noted that these laudable targets would be achieved by engaging about 120 community members who would represent their communities as vanguards; 200 community members that would get involved to attend interface/ town hall meetings; Get state Legislators to create or revive functional constituency offices to serve as liaison center to enable community members assess them; To get 50 community members taking actions to get their legislators address the identified gaps and to get 10 communities to present community charter to their representatives for effective over sight functions as well as to get 20 community members to provide detailed reports of cordial relationship and open door access between representatives and communities of the constituencies.
Earlier, the Director of JDPC, Awka , Reverend Fr Simon Anigbogu reassured that the Catholic diocese of Awka will continue to push for pro people legislation and social justice at all times even as he urged elected and appointed leaders particularly members of the State House of Assembly to be responsive with their representation for equity , justice and fairness to be seen as to have been done in the society/constituency they have their mandate in trust.
In his remarks, Chukwura Kingsley of Kingsfaith Development and Youth Empowerment emphasized on the need to engage leaders to be responsive to their electoral promises.
On their part, Adinuba Paulinus C of JDPC, St Edwards Parish Amawbia and Okeke Chioma of Shoulder for Gender Support and Development Initiative as well as Hon Albert Chinwuko , Secretary Community Empowerment Network , Anambra state (COMEN) insisted that illiteracy and poverty constitute major problems of the electorates in communities.
As well , President General Ajalli Welfare Union, Mazi Kanu Christian represented by his PA , Obinna Okoroji; Assistant women leader Ofuobi Youth forum , Enugu Ukwu , Chikodili Okafor and Onor Tochukwu E , CBM of COMEN Nise and Comrade Umenwa Ejike P , Secretary General Eziagu town union , decried the attitude of some leaders who promise so many things during campaign but do little to nothing once elected into office.
For Anadu Nchedo , Monitoring and Evaluation Officer/ Secretary of JDPC Nnewi and Okoye Abraham , Liaison Officer Civil Society Organization ,Anambra state House of Assembly enjoined the communities to engage their representatives at all times to enable them enjoy the democratic dividends due them.