2019: Abuja community unveils demands for politicians

Maitama General Hospital
Maitama General Hospital

The Mabushi community in Abuja have itemised a list of infrastructure they need from political leaders, ahead of the general elections.

The residents made their intentions known at the unveiling of the community’s Charter of Demand, on Tuesday, at a town hall meeting in Abuja.

The Charter of Demand tagged: ”Giving back to the Slum Community”, was organised by a non-governmental organisation, HipCITYHUB, in partnership with Heinrich Boll Foundation.

The Deed, by the people of Mabushi communities, contains the need for adequate pipe borne water, health care facilities, roads, school, electricity waste system, toilets, concerns on prostitution and drug abuse.

The event had in attendance residents and leaders of the Mabushi community, political party candidates, and community stakeholders.

The program director of Heinrich Boll Foundation, Donald Ofoegbu, said the Charter of Demand would bring members of the community closer to their political leaders.

He also said it would enable the residents of the Mabushi community demand the kind of solutions they want, ahead of the general elections.

”We are looking at how we could actually start to support the Mabushi community to demand the kind of solution, as they have itemised the kind of infrastructural needs they want from their political leaders.

“Political parties are here to listen to what the people want. Mabushi community is saying they are not in to sell their votes to politicians coming to throw money all around.

”We, as an organisation, think this a very good idea. We are presenting their charter of demand, which they have crafted, itemising key priority problem and we are here to see how we can amplify the voice of the community.

The executive director at HipCity innovative centre, Bassey Bassey, said the presentation was as a result of research work probing urban properties, which was carried out by its organization.

According to him, the organisation deployed ten researchers who lived and stayed and studied the community for six weeks.

”What we did was to move into this community for six weeks without them knowing that we were in this community. So we had ten researchers live in Mabushi. The only people who knew about our presence were the community chiefs and we pleaded with them, that we need to get peoples to feedback as honest as possible.

”So, they kept our secret. Nobody (knew) we were there. We lived with them and built a relationship and at the end of the day because they were our friends, there are certain things they would not give you as a pressman but they were able to give it to us.

“We did not go there with the questionnaire, cameras. We lived with them and we could have this honest experience and their feedback too.”

Residents’ views

Vivan Nwonko a resident of Mabushi community also listed some basic amenities that they lack.

She said the community needs good toilet facility, health centres, and adequate water system.

The chairman of Mabushi environmental community, Peter Musa, however, lamented that the community has a lot of challenges. He called on the government to come to their aid.

Another resident, Moses John, said the Charter of Demand would help to hold political leaders responsible and accountable.

He said some of the needs are in health, education, water, and a bridge.

”As the population keeps expanding, there have been issues of meeting the needs of people in terms of housing, including a pedestrian bridge linking various streets. What the charter is just trying to say is that they should be a road map that would hold those responsible that are meant to fix these things.

”And we, the people, are also ready to work with the government, that is why we came up with the Charter of Demand, which shows what the community is lacking.”

Political candidates promise

Omagbitse Barrow, running for the House of Representative, representing AMAC-Bwari Constituency, promised to include the Charter of Demand to his economic blueprint beyond the Mabushi community.

”I would use the issues they have raised to articulate part of my legislative agenda and work with more communities beyond Mabushi,” Mr Barrow, who is contesting under the platform of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, said.

”I like the conversation, particularly around the fact that says we should upgrade and not demolish and partner with each other with our communities. There is a lot of work done at the grassroots.

”But what I have found is that in politics, nobody pays attention to the grassroots. We go and take votes from the grassroots and disappear without paying attention to the needs. As a candidate running for the House of Representatives AMAC constituency, I have a lot of commitment to the grassroots.” Another candidate, Lois Auta of the Accord party, who is running for the seat of House of Representative, said the Mabushi community Charter of Demand shows what the community is lacking.

She also said the presentation would assist her in the green chambers, if elected.

”I am so happy with the organisers for bringing in the critical stakeholders to interact and discuss the needs and challenges of Mabushi community,” Ms Auta said.

”I am glad Mabushi came up with Charter of demand, which will help me when I get to the green chamber,” she added.

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