By Jude Atupulazi
The Women and Family Advancement Initiative (WAFAI), a non-governmental organisation, has identified lack of good governance in the grassroots as a major contributor to Nigeria’s socio-political and economic challenges.
Dr Francisca Obi, Founder of the NGO, stated this at the South East Inauguration and Induction of Ambassadors into the WAFAI Grassroots Foundation, last Monday in Awka.
The programme which attracted people from the five states of the Southeast, had as its theme, ”Advocacy for Good Leadership and Grassroots Development”.
Mrs Obi said Nigeria was blessed with rich human and natural resources that would be enough to cater for its population but suffered from mismanagement of those resources due to bad leadership and poor governance, especially in the grassroots. She said it was the reason why the nation presently faced lots of challenges.
She said the rural folks that constituted a significant segment of the country’s population lived in abject and hopeless poverty and were neglected in terms of socio-economic and political wellbeing.
In her words, ‘Good leadership and governance is about the uplift and development of those in the grassroots. If this is not achieved, there will be socio-economic challenges.
‘Poverty and unemployment are on the rise and this is fueling crimes and insecurity in our society.
‘At WAFAI, we recognise that government alone cannot solve these problems which is why since 2009, we have been carrying out empowerment projects in about five states. Now we are in Anambra to do same.’
Mrs Obi aid the goal of the foundation was to promote good governance through community response services aimed at supporting grassroots development and bettering the lives of citizens.
‘We equally advocate against crimes and social vices, corruption and election malpractice, especially as we prepare for the governorship election in Anambra, come November 6,’ Mrs Obi said.
In his keynote address, Prof. Samuel Ezeanyika of the Department of Political Science, Imo State University, Owerri, said that achieving good leadership and grassroots development required intensified advocacy.
‘There is the need to increase advocacy and re-orientation of the people, especially in the grassroots, to vote for accountable leaders who will make them feel the presence of government,’ he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Lilian Orogbu, Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, urged the electorate to start looking out for credible leaders who would implement good policies ahead of the November 6 governorship poll.
He said that Anambra needed a leader who would understand that the purpose of leadership was to protect and empower the citizens.
In his address, the State Chairman of WAFAI, Mr Paul-Chuks Umenduka, said the programme was an interface with the public, private sector and community leaders, towards building a better society.
He said the organisation had successfully engaged in civic re-orientation, advocacy for the girl-child, women’s and children’s welfare, business/leadership training and empowerment, since its inception in 2009.