From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Civil society organisations in Kaduna State has set issues-based campaign agenda for political candidates in the state and unveiled a tracking website ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Lead, Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED) in the state, Yusuf Goje said, “one of the critical things we did was to critically look at the 2019 election which ushered in the current administration both at the state and federal levels.
“For example, out of about 84 million eligible voters that year, only 27 million participated and just about 15 million of that votes brought this administration to power.
“In Kaduna State, only about one million out of 3.9 million eligible voters, 1.9 of that figure voted and about 1 million votes brought in the current administration, so, both citizens and their prospective representatives alike must engage issues as we move towards 2023 general elections”.
A former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Florence Aya lamented persistent poor female representation in politics, “only about four out of 18 female contestants scaled through the recently conducted party primaries which are not good enough.
“So, we are calling for support of Kaduna voters to ensure all the women are returned to the assembly for improved women’s representation in governance. Yes, people should ask their candidates what they have in stock for them through agenda setting so the constituents can take them up on these after election.
Co-Chair, Citizens Arm, Open Government Partnership (OGP) Hadiza Umar who spoke through Joshua James thanked the organisers for putting the event together which she believed would enable the citizens to engage the candidates for 2023 election better.
“The time for good governance is here and we need to leverage on the OGP platform to hold government officials to account as we engage on issue-based campaigns before and after the election”, she said.
Member representing Kagarko in Kaduna State House of Assembly, Nuru Goro Shadalafia KSHA said, “we look forward to more engagement with the house to see that OGP commitment are reinforced and put to work in the interest of the good people of Kaduna State.
“I want us to be very open to ask good questions. Issues-based campaign is what is in vogue now and any candidate that cannot tell citizens how the issues of security, poverty, health, agriculture, education etc will be addressed may not get their vote”.
Speaking earlier during the engagement which was facilitated by Partnership for Issues-based Campaign in Nigeria in collaboration with Partnership to Engage, Learn and Reform (PERL), Team Lead of PERL in Kaduna State, Abel Adejor said, the one-day public dialogue with candidates on agenda setting for the next year general election became necessary to ensure that both the citizens and their representatives are on the same page in terms of needs priority.
According to him, “it is important that candidates m know the aspirations of citizens because gone are the days when political representatives just embark on public projects without asking the intending beneficiary what their priorities are.
“We invited about fourteen of them here and, we are looking at how the citizens can constructively engage the candidates in the overall interest of their respective and collective communities and not to ask for resources for personal use”, he said.
Participants at the dialogue meeting include former, serving and intending lawmakers, market women, persons with disability, women mentoring ground up, media and civil society organisations.