Majority Leader in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Sanai Agunbiade, has urged the electorate to demand explanations from council officials rather than merely cursing them.
Agunbiade said the public needs to exercise its right to know how elected officials are performing and that this is more effective than raining curses, which cannot improve people’s lives.
The lawmaker spoke in Ikorodu, Lagos on Wednesday at a public lecture on good governance and community participation at the local government level.
It was organised by African Democratic Development Initiative (Afridevi) in collaboration with Gbawat Foundation (GF) with the theme ‘The roles of community participation in good governance at the local government level: challenges and prospects.’
Chairperson of Ikorodu West LCDA, Olajumoke Ademehin; Vice Chairman Sesan Dada; Ikorodu West All Peoples’ Congress (APC) party chairman, Alhaji Nafiu Olakitan; Council Leader, Ikorodu West LCDA Agbaje Olomu and Afridev Director, Olusesan Olukoya were some of the guests at the event.
Agunbiade discouraged the public from making too many financial and other demands of council officials, because their sources of incomes are limited to salaries and sitting allowances.
He noted, for instance, that different groups are already expecting gifts from elected officials for Christmas and that this occurs for every national festival.
Agunbiade said: “Please pray for us. Support us with your prayers, not curses. Ask questions, ask us questions about what we are doing, don’t just jump to conclusions.
“….You have the power to call your councillors and ask them questions. Christmas is coming, call your representatives in government to ask them what they have been doing.
The lawmaker urged the public to be reasonable. He cited the example of a community leader who prevented him from providing water for the residents of the area because “he was not consulted.”
“I told the workmen who had already started work to pack their tools and we moved the project to another community. I had no choice,” Agunbiade said.
Council chairperson Ademehin said a programme she initiated which related to the people ward by ward, had found that their major concerns were about roads, healthcare and education.
“We are tackling the problems as funds become available. In Ward A for instance, they complained of water, and we have solved that problem by sinking a borehole for them.”
Host, Olomu, who is also Gbawat founder, said the non-governmental organisation (NGO) focus was on youths, the elderly and the infirmed.
“We provided entrepreneurial skills for young people, we assist the aged as well as widows.
Afridev director, Olukoya, said the programme was aimed at sensitising the people at the grassroots about the rights and responsibilities towards the people in government.
“People need to be enlightened about their roles towards the government. Who is the government? People need to know that we ourselves are the government. They need to know this,” Olukoya said.
The officials also fielded questions from participants including several residents of the LCDA.