A non-profit making organization, Grassroots Empowerment and Justice, GEJ Initiative, has urged government at all levels to focus on grassroots development as a major solution to various challenges affecting the country generally.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Ebriku John Friday, where he asserted that the grassroots people have not really benefited from democratic dividends as expected since 1999, but acknowledged the fact that some state and federal projects are sited in some of the local government areas but the impact is minimal.
According to Friday the grassroots people are in dear need of sustainable health care delivery system following the rising infant and maternal mortality rates that have placed Nigeria as the number one country with the highest number of infant and maternal mortality rate in the world.
He further stated that the education system at the grassroots also needs serious attention, whereby free education should be declared from the primary to secondary school levels.
He also added that the youth at the rural areas should be engaged by the government in partnership with relevant development partners and nongovernmental organizations with basic training on agriculture, ICT, entrepreneurial skills, sports, capacity building on wealth creation, science and technology, spurring their creative and innovative abilities for the benefit of all, encouraging them with funds to establish what they have acquired.
He also stated that provision of adequate and sustainable power supply at the rural areas to boost economic activities, which will attract investors to establish their business that would lead to job creation and development of other infrastructure at the grassroots.
He said: “We in GEJ Initiative, passionately call on the local, federal and federal governments to aggressively and holistically come up urgently with development strategies to ameliorate the lives of the rural populace in order to add value to the lives of this vulnerable population of the country that constitute 1/3 of our population.
“We are really concerned with the plight of development at the grassroots as an organization because much is not done to add value to the lives of the people, yet they are the people who come out to massively to elect politicians at the local, state and federal levels. The current poverty, insecurity and violence largely owes to poor development at the grassroots.
“The people have no good road networks to facilitate transportation of goods and persons, poor power supply and continued blackouts and decayed power infrastructure, poor health care delivery services that have resulted to increasing deaths, disease outbreaks, invasion of quacks, self medication, high infant maternal mortality rates.
“The education system at the grassroots needs serious attention, whereby declaring free education from the primary to secondary school levels and also tackle poor education infrastructure, where pupils lack good classrooms, dilapidated blocks of classrooms, lack of staff quarters and poor payment system for secondary and primary schools’ academic and non-academic staff.
“The youth at the rural areas should be engaged by the government in partnership with relevant development partners and nongovernmental organizations with basic training on agriculture, ICT, entrepreneurial skills, sports, capacity building on wealth creation, science and technology, spurring their creative and innovative abilities for the benefit of all, encouraging them with funds to establish what they have acquired.
He also emphasized on the implications of underdevelopment at the grassroots, “In fact, the future of young people, children and families is blink with this underdevelopment at the grassroots, and the resultant effects we are seeing in the some parts of the country are traceable to the gross neglect in infrastructural development.
“Today, the country is in the deep mess of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, human and drug trafficking, communal clashes, thuggery, armed robbery including suicide.”
However, the group acknowledged some efforts made by some past and present administrations to transform the lives of grassroots people, and encouraged others to improve on what they have done as much needs to be done, hence called on elected state and federal representatives to join the executive arms of government at the federal, state and local government levels to do synergise with them to give a sense of belonging to the grassroots who are their primary constituents.
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