Micheal Etta Bissong
Lack of basic amenities such as access road, electricity, health and general sanitary services in Jikwoyi, a small suburb in the federal capital territory has caused occupants of the area to unite and demand for political inclusion as well as ensure that their needs are seen as priority in party’s manifesto as the 2015 general elections approaches. Etta Michael Bisong examines the development vis-à-vis strategies deployed to actualise this goal.
The 2015 general elections according to political participants and actors will no doubt prove the strength of Nigeria as the largest democracy in Africa. Politicians and the electorates since the postponement of the elections have increasingly engaged each other in various group discussions to ensure that the right candidates are elected into office.
Nigeria’s nascent democracy is evidently marred with huge infrastructure deficits that undermine the universal standards of human livelihoods. Human rights observers both local and international believe that this avoidable inhuman crisis is responsible for the rising violence and poverty in some parts of the country.
Tenants of Jikwoyi are not immune from this neglect which informs their wisdom to mobilise and systematically engage politicians who are currently seeking for various positions to prioritise basic facilities such as access road, electricity, health and sanitary services.
The gridlock on the Nyanya/Karu road captures some of these sad experiences that commuters go through everyday just to seek for daily livelihoods. Its implications continue to contribute to the growing problem of deteriorating human health, risks of congregating large number of cars and people in one location as well as inefficient utilisation of time. Cases of wear and tear on vehicles, unnecessary frustration and the huge amount of money constantly spent to fuel cars when not on motion are amongst the mess that the people want politicians to tackle.
While politicians are moving around soliciting for votes, the electorates often quietly talking to each other to identify and establish common interest. House owners under the auspices of Jikwoyi Landlords Association recently gathered stakeholders together as part of strategy to interact and engage political aspirants to explain how they intend to resolve some of the aforementioned challenges.
Chairman of the group, Mr. Rufus Ebegba, who spoke to Blueprint briefly after the parley, urged the electorates to imbibe the culture of accountability to properly hold leaders to fulfil promises made during electoral campaigns. Nigeria, he said is presently undergoing critical political upheaval which compels politicians to interface and collaborate with the electorates in dialogue and agree on applicable methods to foster sustainable development. This period according to him requires wide range door-to-door advocacy to secure support, as against previous practice where votes were cast based on party or ethnic cum religious affiliation.
It is noteworthy to state that only the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) honoured this august call despite the equal opportunity given to others. Although it was revealed at the meeting that some of the aspirants gave countless reasons for their inability to attend the programme with some asking that the date be rescheduled, but the association leader countered the excuses as sign of disrespect from individuals seeking to superintend over the affairs of the electorates. For him if opportunity is created for candidates to sensitise and engage with the masses and they fail, those who made themselves available to talk are the ones that would be elected.
“They need to humble themselves and come down from their high horses and talk to the people directly,” Mr. Ebegba said. “What we need is social amenities, security and spends fewer hours on the road.”
He describe the situation whereby roads in the city centres are annually refurbished with little or no attention to those satellite areas as unfair, unjustifiable and above all a clear sign that people living in the area are not in existence.
The enthusiastic rights campaigner hinted that members in addition to group meetings are also planning mass rally to mobilise and sensitise residents living between Nyanya and Orozo to succeed in this mission.
Other participants who added their voices at the event also elucidated on the obvious need for political intervention to scale-up access and provision of these basic human needs in the area. They describe the meeting as timely as well as eye opener to the different alternatives through which residents can unite to realise this common objective.
“It is obvious that we have not had this kind of sitting,” said Adamu Ayuba, Chairman of Jerry Bread Street. “I think this is an eye opener and we are going to actually organise ourselves in subsequent meetings to look into those issues and it becomes a matter of concern.”
Ayuba pledged to exercise his office as chairman to disseminate this message to other community dwellers to ensure that elections are violent free and peaceful in the area.
The above issues according to Barrister Maxwell Opara, the APGA candidate contesting to represent AMAC/Bwari Federal Constituency are caused by poor representation. Opera who happen to be the only candidate that graced the occasion said people who seek to represent the FCT must have adequate understanding of its status to effectively enhance service delivery.
The FCT if properly represented he added has the capacity to develop itself rapidly into small London.
“This people don’t have any single support from government yet see what they are doing,” he said. “What is London if they have support from the government?”
He urged the residents to continue to form a formidable political structure to compel other political candidates to appear before and share with their plans on how they intend to develop the area. The human rights advocate advised that the various units must unite and be together among themselves to collectively build Jikwoyi.
In summary, Jikwoyi if truth is to be told as observed has the potentials to transform itself with the right representatives and proper knowledge about the issues bedevilling the environment. As they are problems so also are solutions and the burden of fixing these predicaments depends on the electorates’ ability to organise themselves to demand these changes.