By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.Citizens Engagement, a programme that brings elected representatives with their electorate in a forum organized by the Community Action for Popular Participation, CAPP, has exposed the distance and disconnect between Lawmakers and their constituencies in the Zone ‘A’ Senatorial District of Niger state.
At the ‘Meet Your Representatives Forum’ held Thursday in Bida, only a few of the elected representatives from the zone A senatorial district turned up for the accounts and stewardship forum which was co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
Senator Sani Mustapha, representing Niger-South (zone A) Senatorial District in the Senate, two House of Representative members representing Agaie/Lapai Federal Constituencies and Mokwa, Edati and Lavun Federal Constituencies, Hon. Mohammed Abdulkadir Mamud and Hon. Isah Mokwa respectively shunned the Forum organized for their constituencies to enable them give account of their stewardship.Consequently, the electorate from Niger-South senatorial district have expressed worry that most of their representatives at the state and National levels have not proved themselves as worthy representatives of their people hence the outcry against them and the clamour for them to sit up.
Apart from members of the National Assembly, members of the Niger State House of Assembly, NSHA, representating Agaie, Bida, Edati, Gbako, Katcha, Lapai, Lavun and Mokwa also stayed away from the accountability forum.
Only the member representing Bida, Gbako and Katcha Federal Constituency in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Hon. Bala Farouk was on hand at the forum to give accounts of his stewardship and what his office had so far done for his people.
The Lawmaker like a lone ranger, fielded questions from the people from his constituency who were embittered by his glaring distance and silence since he got elected.
The face to face stewardship account rendition clearly showed how disconnected the elected representatives were with their constituencies. For nearly two years on their elected seats, almost all of them have impacted little or nothing on their communities.
For the elected representatives from the twelve council areas which makes up the Zone A senatorial district, their encounter with their constituencies at the forum was a bad outing as the people did not give them a chance to make excuses.
Communities from the twelve council areas who graced the occasion challenged the elected representatives to list the dividends of democracy they have brought to them to improve on their well-being since coming into office as elected representatives.
Officials of the CAPP, organizers of the programme revealed that members of the state House of Assembly had declined the invitation to attend the stewardship forum out of concern and fears that they could be attacked and humiliated by people from their respective communities.
The Facilitator of the programme, Mr. Samuel Isah said the forum was an opportunity for the Lawmakers give account of what they have done for their constituencies and constituents in the past one and half years.
Isah pointed out that “the people need to know what their representatives have been doing in public interest. This is also the basic purpose of this forum”.
He argued that since democracy is about government and people, the people’s active participation in government is the main ingredient in democracy as a system of government.
Chairman of the Forum, Hon. Isah Kawu noted that though there was no law which explicitly says Lawmakers must give account of their stewardships to their people, good governance calls for responsibility and accountability because according to him, public office is a trust.