Demands Feasible Plans from Political Candidates Ahead of 2023 Elections
As Nigeria marks its democracy day, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has opined on the need for free, fair and credible elections.
Insisting Nigerians deserves more after 23 years of democratic rule, the Centre urged Nigerians to support initiatives that unite the country and promote good governance.
Previously marked on May 29 being the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, the Muhammadu Buhari government in 2018 had changed democracy day to June 12 in solidarity with MKO Abiola Day, usually celebrated in Lagos and some states to commemorate the democratic election of Abiola on June 12.
Coming at a time when the country is preparing for the 2023 general election, Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, in a press release issued on Sunday expressed concerns over the election, stressing that any attempt to disrupt peaceful election must be countered by Nigerians.
According to her, credible, free and fair election is as critical as democracy and as such politicians and all their supporters must prioritize the interest of the nation instead of fueling disunity as the country is already at a crossroad.
“We appreciate the efforts being made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so far. No Nigerian must be disenfranchised. More than ever before, we want the vote of Nigerians to count.
Politicians must understand the plight of Nigerians and desist from any action that will lead to disunity,” Hassan said. Worried over the state of the nation as well as the economy, especially the growing debt profile and insecurity, Hassan said there was urgent need to revive the economy from total collapse and tackle the root causes of insecurity.
With the nation’s public debt standing at N41 trillion, unemployment rate hovering at over 33 per cent while inflation rose by 16.82 per cent year-on-year in April 2022 and exchange rate already standing at N603 to a naira at the black market, Hassan said there was need to reverse the gloomy state of the nation’s economy.
“The state of the country is getting worst by the day. The rate of insecurity is now worse than alarming level.
The devaluation of the naira and disparity between the naira and other major currencies is at the peak. We can’t continue like this, knowing very well that we are one of the fastest growing countries in the world in terms population.
“We therefore urge politicians to focus on issue based campaign and desist from disinformation or fake news. It is also important that politicians desist from using religion and ethnicity to further divide the country. The level of division we have seen is enough. It is time for us to unite,” Hassan said.
CDD stated that the seven years of Buhari government could have been better, especially when compared with the series of promises made before the government came to power.
The not-for-profit, think tank organization admitted that some gains have been recorded in the fight against corruption but added that a lot more could be done, especially in the areas of blocking leakages and involving the whole of society.
Hassan noted that unless the country win against corruption, the widening inequality, poverty, lack of development, unemployment, marginalization and insecurity may persist.
“We need to adopt a whole of society approach and block leakages. It not time for the president to go to bed. The next one year is very critical. In fighting corruption, we need a shift from sanction to long term approach that will focus on blocking leakages.
“This democracy day should remind the president and anybody vying into political office that Nigerians deserve a better country. I am afraid, the country will not move forward if we fail to deal with our challenges. It is now urgent than ever before,” Hassan said.
She equally asked Nigerians to do everything possible in supporting our country, adding that it shouldn’t be about citizen’s rights alone, as rights come with duties towards a better country.