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Groups urge Nigerians to participate in electoral process

By Seye Olumide and Eniola Daniel
05 February 2018   |   1:45 am
One of the fruits of the 2015 general elections, which Nigerians will soon begin to reap as part of dividends of democracy is the fact that absolute power now rests with the people and not just the few politicians that form government.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

One of the fruits of the 2015 general elections, which Nigerians will soon begin to reap as part of dividends of democracy is the fact that absolute power now rests with the people and not just the few politicians that form government.

This was demonstrated in the last presidential election when for the first time in the democratic history of Nigeria, an incumbent president and a ruling party were removed from power through the ballot.

As the country is gradually moving towards another general elections, several volunteer groups under different names like the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM); The Nigerian People’s Choice Awards (TNPCA); Change Initiative Network (CIN); Coalition for Nigerian Movement presently known as the ‘Third Force’, which was officially launched in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja on Wednesday, are currently urging Nigerians to get fully involved in the political process that would determine their political leaders.

Even, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have commenced the campaign to ensure good governance, strong anti-corruption crusade and free, fair and credible elections as solutions to the problems facing the country. The aim was to get the people participate fully in the electoral process that would determine political leaders.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday, Chairman, TNPCA, Mrs. Adenike Olufade said the people are left with no choice, as far as they desire good governance, than to get fully involved not only in the processes of electing leaders but also to ensure appropriate monitoring of how such leaders function in their various positions.

To her, one of the factors retarding Nigeria’s growth and development apart from leadership challenges is that the people are not fully involved in the electoral process and monitoring of activities of their political representatives.With the new initiative, Olufade said Nigerians have been availed of an extensive platform to choose their best performing public office holders across a broad spectrum of categories, known as The Nigerian People’s Choice Awards (TNPCA).

According to her, “The platform would be supervised by a panel of outstanding Nigerians with impeccable track records like Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, Professor Adigun Agbaje, TNPCA and Trcia Nwaubani.The aim was to allow Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora to decide the performance rating of their political leaders through a transparent and credible process.

She added that the awards would be a critical intervention in the much-desired wish of every well-meaning Nigerian to experience wholesale improvement in the quality of governance across all the tiers of government. The award gives extensive power to all Nigerians within and outside the country to vote for their best choices.

Another member of the group, Mr. Bode Opeseitan while disclosing the procedure for the exercise said the award process would enable Nigerians to participate in rating the performances of the 36 governors, the 109 senators and the members of the House of Representatives on a general scale and across the geo-political zones.

According to him, “With this in place, each elected officers would understand the fact that their activities are being monitored over the years by Nigerians. This would put elected officers on their toes to perform because the process is like a searchlight on what they are doing as peoples’ representatives.”Giving details on the panel of judges, the organisers said, “Their first role will be to look at the list of nominations which will be submitted via SMS and online platforms and come up with a shortlist of top three nominees in each category. The second role of the judges will be to assess the votes and affirm the winners in each category.”

It added that at every stage, a reputable audit firm would confirm that everything has been done in accordance with established protocols and international best practices. “Nomination of candidates online shall be free while online voting for candidates shall be at N50 per vote or its equivalent. SMS nomination and voting shall be at the cost of N50 or its equivalent.”In addition to the awards, the organisers said arrangements have been firmed up to establish a platform for the promotion of Good Governance where a certain percentage of the funds generated from the entire process shall be devoted to setting up the Centre and funding various capacity enhancement projects in conjunction with leading developmental agencies around the world.

Meanwhile, National Coordinator of CIN, Mr. Sola Adekanbi said it is imperative for Nigerians to look beyond the next general election and learn how to make politicians who represent them accountable.The group made the charge at their yearly meeting held in Lagos recently, to deliberate on the last general election, the group’s role in the election and how to train youths to be a better leader and politician.

While saying that CIN hoped to effect corrective changes in the society, Adekanbi said the issue affecting the country is not in the parties but those characters in the parties.

According to him, “There is no bad or good party. There are quality politicians in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) what we set to achieve is to identify good Nigerians ahead of the next general elections and project them for the electorate to elect on whichever platform of their choice.”On his part, the group’s Director of Research, Tunde Mesioye said, “Nigerians are yearning for good leadership because that is what our major problem is.”

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