Grassroots devt as tool for poverty eradication, employment generation




Experts have attributed the lack of grassroots development for the rising insecurity, poverty, unemployment in Nigeria. According to them, developing the grassroots will curb rural – urban migration that gave rise to these malaises; BENJAMIN UMUTEME writes. 

It has over time been said that a large proportion of Nigeria’s population resides in the rural areas sometimes referred to as the grassroots. And because of government’s unwillingness to develop the country side, many able-bodied men are forced to migrate to the cities in search of white-collar jobs.

The implication is that its puts so much pressure on infrastructure in the city and in the process gives rise to all other vices associated with an area that is heavily populated.

 Analysts insist that the surest way to address this is for the government to take development to the grassroots.

Nigerian grassroots communities need to be given the desired priority for development in order to spread the dividends of democracy, because the people at the grassroots who are being neglected in terms of infrastructure and manpower development.

The rural people are thus faced with several challenges of life and there are no laws compelling government to focus attention on the villages and communities through the provision of amenities, therefore the challenges continue to linger. This in itself has been the country’s major problem.

Enter Bello Yakubu

The lawmaker representing Birnin Kebbi/Kalgo/Bunza federal constituency of Kebbi state, Bello Yakubu, believes these and many other reasons should prompt the federal government to spread development to the rural areas as it would advance the concept of good governance, especially to those in the hinterlands. 

For Yakubu, who is representing his constituency under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), people at the grassroots are confronted with issues of insecurity, unemployment, infant mortality, poverty, disease, lack of good water, poor quality education among others which needs to be addressed. According to the federal lawmaker, the unwillingness of governments at all levels to address these challenges is seen in what is happening across the country.

Can LGs fill the void?

In a chat with Blueprint Weekend, he said local governments that are supposed to fill this void of developing the rural areas are handicapped as a result of the lack of funds to carry out their primary responsibility. According to him, he is convinced that local government autonomy is the way out of this present state the rural populace find them self.

He noted that the rural people lack potable water, good roads and during raining seasons they are cut off from major cities and towns, which are enough reasons for government to give them attention.  

 Yakubu, a lawyer, having work as a judiciary officer for a long time before joining politics, said the plight of the rural people can best be described as “pathetic.” According to him, he has taken it as his personal cross to ensure that local communities are empowered. He said some don’t have good shelter, no food and if they fall sick they don’t have proper medication.

The grassroots man

Blueprint Weekend checks revealed that before coming to the National Assembly, Yakubu won two elections into  Kebbi state House of Assembly  and was elected majority leader in his second tenure, were he discharge his duties to the people of the state irrespective of tribe and religion.

Yakubu also empowered several people including youth, men, women and people with disabilities at the grassroots in the state.

He was also a football fans and the team manager of Rilisco football club.

Aside from making laws that would enhance the rural poor, Yakubu has promised to also make visiting his beloved constituents an unbreakable duty so as to keep in touch with the grassroots.

The reason for such a hectic but necessary task is not far-fetched. For him, the people come first. And meeting with the grassroots is also paramount.

Therefore, visiting his constituents regularly, he says is a no brainer, as it affords him to the opportunity to meet with them and feel their pulse, and also sustain the party’s structures with a view to ensuring that Kebbi state remains in the mainstream politics and keys in to President Muhammadu Buhari’s people oriented programmes.

Regular visit to his constituency he told our correspondent has created an avenue for solve their problems.

Most importantly, his closeness to the people he is representing will give him a better feedback since he will  gets firsthand information from them and feels their pulse thereby eliminating  the middle man syndrome in his relationship with his constituency. It would also enable him to voice out their demands on the floor of the House, and where necessary sponsor bills that would alleviate their present state.

The lawmaker has also said that he would soon be executing meaningful projects that will impact positively to their lives, while also committing to their well-being.

He said he would use his new office to changed the narratives of his   people and also encourage them to be productive and self reliance.

Herculean task

The Kebbi lawmaker has an herculean task ahead of him because the people he is representing constitute three local governments with Birnin Kebbi being the largest with a high population of unemployed youths because it is the state capital while poverty and education needs to be tackled.

The objectives of the lawmaker now  is to  bring development to the grassroots level because youth unemployment, infant mortality, poverty, disease, health and quality education are  among the vices and challenges he is facing at his constituency and tackling them will be a difficult task for him because of paucity of funds.

He told our correspondent that he has always been an advocate of LG autonomy as it would enable them to tackle this problems head-long.  

Having identified these problems, the lawmaker, says there is need to address them. He added that there is also need to empower them through skills acquisition and manpower training so as to accommodate the large chunk of unemployed youths in his constituency. 

  He noted that without peace there can be no meaningful development in any society. Knowing this is a given, Yakubu says he is making efforts to address the challenges of insecurity in collaboration with other stakeholders.   

He said a federal lawmaker should use their position to become the voice against perfidy and official malfeasance in doing well to their people. According to him, he’s working to create a balanced political system within his constituents as he seeks to make right out of any ugly situation.  

Pundits believe that Hon. Yakubu will be a stabilising factor in the present democratic dispensation and will also play a pivotal role in bringing development to the state while contributing to the growth of his party (APC).

Yakubu, has said he will contribute in building his party morally and financially as well as execute projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the people he represents. He asserted that no man can do it alone; therefore, he needs his people’s cooperation to be able to address some of their challenges, in the process keeping hope alive for his people.

 Some of the people in his constituency are of the view that with the way he s going, he would transform his constituency by attracting meaningful projects and providing skills acquisitions that will enhance development.  

The lawmaker also said the executive governor of Kebbi state, His Excellency Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is passionate about the state and the people, has performed very well in terms of developmental strides in the state. He said the state has already witnessed tremendous development in health, education, agriculture and security.

He said that Kebbi is relatively peaceful because of the governor’s efforts in combating crimes and other social vices. He also said the governor has provided a level playing ground for farmers without fear or molestation and are being encouraged through incentives. He said very soon the state would be one among the highest rice-producing and suppliers in the country, which are efforts of tackling unemployment and productivity while contributing to the growth of the economy.

Yakubu further expressed confidence that the governor is planning to do more to the state and encouraged the people to support his initiatives for the state to grow strong economically no wonder he was nick-named Rilisco.

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