11th October, 2010
For five consecutive days, Directors of Community Development in Nigeria gathered at the VIP Chalet of the Lagos State Government, Badagry, Lagos to brainstorm on the problems, challenges and prospects in community development practices.
The theme of the 33rd annual national conference of the directors was: Grassroots Community Mobilisation and Involvement â€”A Panacea for Credible Election/Political Transformation.
â€œWe all know that community development is a veritable tool for grassroots mobilisation and national development and as such, community development practitioners are enjoined to ensure total grassroots mobilisation to effectively participate in all stages of electoral processes,â€ said the Lagos State Commissioner for Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun, who declared the conference open.
The commissioner challenged people at the grassroots to ensure they participate actively in the coming voter registration exercise and urged the directors to mobilise grassroots people for the exercise.
Lagos Head of Service, HOS, Mr Adesegun Ogunlewe called community development practitioners in Nigeria to continue to support and complement governmentâ€™s efforts in enhancing grassroots governance and community development across the country.
The HOS, whose speech was read by the Permanent Secretary, Rural Development, Mr. Babatunde Oshodi solicited the directorsâ€™ support in engaging and preparing grassroots communities for the coming elections.
He charged the directors of community development in Nigeria to educate the electorate within their locality to eschew violence before, during and after elections and encourage them to participate fully so as to sustain the democratic civilian rule.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon. Josephine Anenih said effective mobilization and political empowerment of the grassroots in Lagos State had enabled those at the grassroots to contribute to electing a credible and visionary leader in the state which had brought development to rural areas.
She noted that the grassroots constituted a sizeable percentage of the Nigerian population, adding that â€œregrettably, this category of the citizens have been marginalised and often disenfranchised due to ignorance, retrogressive cultural and traditional beliefs, religious sentiments, electoral malpractices and lack of a common voice to air their views and opinion.â€
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said he expected the conference to come up with real steps that will ensure â€œour peopleâ€™s increased voter registration, determination to vote and defend their mandate, as well as ensure post-election representation and accountability.