An international non-governmental organization known as Search For Common Ground (SFCG) has urged serving politicians in Rivers State to make themselves reachable to the people they are mandated to serve.
The peacebuilding NGO came up with this when it attempted to partner with some serving political office holders in the state so as to promote peace but could not get their attention.
It was quite amazing to note that Search For Common Ground has been in Rivers State for some couple of time now, spending huge amount of money to embark on peacebuilding projects in the state and Niger Delta but could not secure the cooperation of state and local governments’ political officeholders.
Describing the situation as very appalling, the State Coordinator of SFCG, Mr Cosmos Dinee sounded it clear that the intention of the foreign peacebuilding NGO is to help the state and local governments of Rivers State in the area of security and not to get anything from them.
In a chat with our correspondent, Mr Dinee wondered why the moment politicians get elected or appointed into public office, the next thing is to build barrier wall around them so as to make it impossible for their constituents to have access to them.
According to him: “It is disappointing to note that our public office holders seem not to understand the role they are to play in society. Being elected or appointed into public office is not a condition to build a fence around yourself and make yourself unreachable.
“We have made every effort to engage critical stakeholders from government agencies because we need them to forge the issue of peace forward. But every time we attempt to see serving politicians, we usually meet a very bad brick wall and we used to waste a lot of man hour just to see one public office holder and we will eventually not see him.
“If after wasting all of such useful man hour and you are able to see these serving politicians, it will be fine but you can not see them. Sometimes, we waste 3-4-5 hours to see one serving politician and we will still not see the person. I think it is very discouraging. We come to government officers not to seek help but to offer help. What we are doing in Rivers State is providing support to the government to keep the state peaceful.”
It is believed that many people who venture into politics first lookout for political gladiators who will help enable them to clinch power with an agreement to serve the gladiators’ interest in return which eventually makes it impossible for such political office holders to be accessible to their constituents.
Unfortunately, this disturbing trend had seemed not to have an end in sight because election rigging is an endemic way of life in Rivers State and Nigeria and until the nation’s serving politicians come to believe that they can not get into office without their constituents, politicians will remain inaccessible to the masses.