BusinessDay

Organization sensitises Nigerians on peaceful elections

As preparation for the 2023 General Elections picks up pace, Strategy and Innovation for Development Initiative (SI4DEV), a non-governmental organization that campaigns for good governance, improved service delivery, transparency and accountability, has sensitised Nigerians on peaceful elections.

SI4DEV organized a strategic dialogue event on peaceful elections, leadership and good governance events convened by the Coordinator Julie Obi.

With the aim to bring about actions that will lead to peaceful elections and sensitize more citizens to be involved in political leadership, good governance, elections and the voting process.

In her earlier opening remarks, the Convener of Strategy and Innovation for Development Initiative Lagos; Julie Obi said that the elections are approaching, and aspirants are already preaching solutions to many problems we are facing in Nigeria. Yet very few are thinking about creative solutions.

The United States of America hopes that the elections will represent the will of all Nigerians and lead the country to a path of good governance, the Political Officer, U.S, Consulate General Nigeria, Janine Lewis, said at the interactive forum tagged “Strategic Dialogue Event on Peaceful Elections, Leadership and Good Governance held recently at the American Corner, Ikeja, Lagos.

According to her, the United States believes that it is essential for Nigeria to conduct credible elections, we will observe the elections as part of the political process. Nigerian politicians and citizens need to stay engaged and support the democratic electoral process.

“We are pleased with the federal government’s assurances to organize free and credible elections and its commitment to providing a safe environment for elections. The United States hopes that the elections, and thoughts of these elections will represent the will of all Nigerians.

“We call on leaders to take responsibility for their actions. Another priority is to support a more inclusive political environment. One where women, youths and persons with disabilities can participate fully and lead at all levels of government and within the political parties,” she said.

“There is a history where politicians use the youth at points where it’s a benefit to them. But then after the fact that youth are left alone, they’re left to do what they want. The youth need to decide what they want for Nigeria in 2023. And once they have a unified vision, select those leaders who can actively participate in the politics and that can effectively make the changes that will build a united Nigeria.

Read also: ‘We do not see voting patterns changing in 2023’

“So my biggest thing is don’t give up. But also don’t sit on the sidelines. You got to be a part of the solution.

“Over the past two years, the Nigerian Civil Society has advocated for increasing the number of females who participate in the political and electoral process. Other USAID sponsored organizations such as the Young African Leadership Initiative Network continue to encourage engagement and offer free online courses to encourage you to participate at all levels of the political process, and leadership.

“The work of the CSOs here in Nigeria has led to the Senate reconsideration of the gender equality amendments that we saw back in March, the ratification of the 2018 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was given a five-year mandate for implementation and the Nigerian youth employment action plan 2001 to 2024.

“These advances may seem slow and arduous, but they are advancing in building and consolidating democratic institutions and ideals needed in Nigeria.

Similarly, Alabi Opeyemi, representing All Progressives Congress (APC) appealed to Nigeria Youths to be deeply involved in politics at all levels most especially at the grassroots.

“Nigerian youths care less about the transparency of the local government. Rather concentrating more at the national level or state level. So to enhance political leadership, we need to know how the dynamic of politics works as many of us might not be interested in politics, which is a must for us to be involved.”

However, Lanre Ogundipe, executive director of Imperial EdTech, said youth involvement and participation in politics, civic education should be reintroduced into Nigeria’s educational system.

“Why is it that our teachers and schools are not preparing us to be the best leaders as much as they are preparing us to be the best career people and better workers is because there has been a civic disconnect in our education system. We can either go from the bottom of the approach or go from top to bottom.”

He further said that for the people to understand the electoral process, We need to get civic education in primary schools, secondary schools, universities and the workplace.

Si4dev is a non-governmental organization that campaigns for good governance, improved service delivery, transparency and accountability.

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