Lokoja – Ahead the November 11 governorship election in Kogi State, security agencies have been tasked to rise up and perform their statutory duties of protecting the lives and properties of citizens.
This call was contained in a communique issued at the end of a one – day workshop organised by the Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR).
The workshop which was held at Ayetoro -Gbede , Kogi State was a MULTI-STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT ON INTEGRITY AND COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION.
The communique, especially urged security agencies to protect lives and property of citizens before, during and after the upcoming governorship elections.
It also charged security operatives to maintain neutrality at all cost and a prevent a re-occurrence of what happened during the 2019 governorship election.
The communique signed by Idris Miliki Abdul , the Executive Director, CHRCR, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to live above board in the discharge of its statutory functions.
The workshop was attended by community- based artisan groups, Women Groups, Religious and Youth Leaders, hunters associations, National union of Road Transport Workers and others.
The one – day event featured presentations on Corruption, Integrity and Community ownership, Development of Community Scorecard and Questions and Answer sessions.
” Despite the short time before the November 11th 2023 Governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to implement a robust engagement with citizens especially at the grassroot levels as many citizens do not fully understand how to engage the electoral process
” Political parties and their candidates have no strategic campaign messages on Anti-Corruption meanwhile this has become a key challenge at state level in our electoral process.
“Citizens should not engage in spreading fake news and hate speech.
” While Government must take proactive measures to curb the ever-rising problem of fake news and hate speech.
“Perpetrators must be held accountable by the law to serve as deterrent,” it stated .
According to the communique, participants at the workshop also made the following recommendations ; ” There is need to improve the constant capacity and awareness of citizens on the roles and rights in the Accountability and Anti-Corruption issues in elections.
“The Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC) must immediately address the integrity issues associated with the conduct of the 2020 Local Government Elections especially as regards the results of the elections and put machinery in place for the conduct of the Local government elections whose current tenure will expire on the 14th of December 2023
” Citizens must continue to hold elected political leaders accountable by insisting on the establishment of functional Constituency Offices where community engagements can be achieved.
“There must be a concerted effort by the political actors to engage the citizens constantly and effectively on issues of Governance and their responsibilities
“Elected representatives of the people, particularly Legislators at all levels must ensure that they have functional Constituency offices where citizens can access them.
“The demand for issue-based election campaigns has always not been upheld by political parties and their candidates.
“To this end, they must ensure that citizens issues rather than any other sentiment is at the forefront of their campaigns
“Citizen groups must be courageous and bold in demanding for accountability and transparency on elections at State level as this is their constitutional rights and responsibility.”
The workshop further observed that “there was still a gap in knowledge of citizens on who were their elected representatives at Ward, State, and Federal levels
“There still exist a disconnect between the citizens and their political representatives
“There were still concerns about the integrity of the 2020 Local government elections and its attendant effects on governance at State level as the results of that elections are still not known to the citizens.
“Elected political actors do not make themselves available to citizens for engagement and this has implications for participation of the people at community levels
“The upcoming 11th November 2023 campaigns have begun on primordial (ethnicity, religion, etc) sentiments rather than on issue-based.
“That poor transparency in the internal democracies of political parties is a recurrent factor in the challenges of accountability and transparency in elections at state level.
“That the fear of violence is still a major factor in the non-participation of citizens, especially vulnerable populations (PWD, Women, etc.), towards the November 11th 2023 Governorship election.
“Fake news is a rising concern in effective engagement of citizens with the electoral process in the state
“Despite the short time before the November 11th 2023 Governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to implement a robust engagement with citizens especially at the grassroot levels as many citizens do not fully understand how to engage the electoral process
“Political parties and their candidates have no strategic campaign messages on Anti-Corruption meanwhile this has become a key challenge at state level in our electoral process.”
The workshop concluded by emphasizing the effective way of achieving the task ahead through the instrumentality of ethics and Integrity in the fight against corruption and promoting accountability at state level.
The participants appreciated CHRCR and CISLAC for their consistency in the crusade against corruption and accountability with the continued support of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation