2023 General Election: Human Rights Group charges security agencies on strategic engagement of relevant stakeholders

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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE 1-DAY REVIEW MEETING WITH POLITICAL PARTIES ON PRIORITIZING ANTI-CORRUPTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY ISSUES TOWARDS THE 2023 ELECTIONS AT STATE LEVEL HELD AT HALIMS HOTEL, GANAJA JUNCTION, LOKOJA ON WEDNESDAY 14TH DECEMBER 2022 ORGANIZED BY THE CONSCIENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CHRCR)

BACKGROUND:
The 1-Day meeting was organized in continuation of the engagement on prioritizing Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues towards the 2023 General Elections at State level in Kogi State with recognized political parties.

The meeting had in attendance INEC recognized Political parties, and Media Practitioners/Journalists.

The engagement featured presentations on the review of the project, and the role of political parties should play in fighting Corruption and promoting Accountability by Executive Director CHRCR Idris Miliki, Impact of Political party Scorecards facilitated by the Executive Director of Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) and Communique development.

There were plenary discussion sessions on the aftermath of political party primaries, campaign issues, and the on-going Permanent Voters Card (PVC). Collections.

There was Question and Answer sessions during and after all sessions.

The concluding component of the meeting involved the review of each political party activities on the 2023 general elections

OBSERVATIONS
The meeting made the following observations on issues concerning Anti-Corruption and Accountability in Nigeria in General and at State level in Kogi State towards 2023 elections:

  • Participation of women leading up to the election period has not been encouraging as many could not make it at candidate despite their strengths and contributions in their parties
  • Little or no participation of Civil Society in Political parties primaries despite the existing collaborations
  • There has not been visible anti-corruption campaign issues in the campaign activities of the political parties and their candidates
  • There has been unimpressive mobilization of citizens by INEC and political parties on the collection of PVC. No Media engagement (Radio programmes, jingles, distribution of IEC, etc.) on this by INEC
  • The Parties and their Candidates are not enlightening their followers enough during their campaigns through distribution of Party and Candidates manifestos
  • That the leading political parties have consistently absented themselves from engagement with the citizens and relevant stakeholders in the elections when invited
  • There has been increasing electoral violence such as damage of campaign posters and Billboards and this is condemnable
  • The increasing attacks, destruction and damage to INEC facilities is raising tension and concern making citizens apprehensive about the elections and this will not augur well for the country for citizen’s participation
  • The charges on Billboard placement by the new Kogi State Signage Law has not helped in promoting active participation and election information dissemination and campaign activities
  • The general insecurity environment proceeding the elections has become a cause of worry that could lead to voter apathy on election.
  • Some political parties do not have functional offices and structures for communicating with their members and the general public
  • There is no strategic engagement by Security Agencies with relevant stakeholders on election security.

RECOMMENDATIONS
At the end of deliberations, the participants agreed and made the following recommendations:

  1. Women need to be more proactive in their engagement and participation in politics
  2. There is need for a change in strategy for PVC collection by INEC as the current strategy is not producing the right responses from Citizens
  3. Political parties must effectively engage in mobilization of citizens for collection of PVC as they are the primary beneficiary of the electoral process
  4. Political parties should continue to ensure that women are actively engaged in party activities and leadership positions
  5. Internal party democracies should be strengthened by collaboration with Civil Society during primaries and other party activities
  6. Political parties and their Candidates need to include anti-corruption transparency and accountability in their campaign activities and manifestos
  7. Stakeholders must aggressively improve sensitization and mobilization for citizens to collect their PVC before the end of the process as announced by INEC.
  8. Political parties and their Candidates should ensure that they use their campaign activities to promote their manifestos to their members and the general public.
  9. Hate speech, inflammatory utterances and unguided statements by political party members, candidates and their supporters should be checked by Security Agencies and INEC and those found to be wanting should be prosecuted
  10. Security Agencies must nip in the bud the general insecurity issues in the country to ensure a free, fair and credible elections
  11. The outrageous advert fees in the State must be addressed to ensure a level playing field for all political parties and their candidates and those adverts materials must be protected by the State authorities
  12. Political Parties need to establish functional offices and websites to ensure effective communication with their members and the general public
  13. The meeting call on all security Agencies to strategically engage relevant stakeholders constantly on election security towards the 2023 general elections

SIGNED


IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL
Executive Director
Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR)
Lokoja, Kogi State.




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