By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Participants of a one-day sensitization programme for candidates and political parties have resolved to adopt the use of the social media in demanding for transparency, accountability and responsiveness from the government.
This was contained in a communique jointly signed by Rose Mathew (Gabasawa District), Timothy Sajoh (Gabasawa District), Kabir Usman Wushishi (Doka District), Sani Lerewa (Kawo District) and Bako Abdul Usman (Campaign for Democracy/Network of Citizens in Governance),
“Employ the use of social media as a tool to demand transparency, accountability and responsiveness from the government,” the communiqué from the one day sensitization with the theme – Voter Education: 2019 Agenda Setting for Candidates and Political Parties with focus on Open Government Partnership (OGP) and Local Government Autonomy, stated.
At the meeting held in Kaduna, they also resolved to vote for credible candidates regardless of their political parties or sentiments; especially those that commit to upholding the principles of Open Government Partnership and support local government partnership.
“Step down the information gotten at the program to other members of their communities and ensure to mobilize them to actively participate in the electoral process. ‘
“Embark on advocacy visit to take up the issues of adopting Open Government Partnership and local government autonomy alongside other demands with candidates and political parties as conditions for support to them.
“Organize political debate for candidates and get written commitments on Open Government Partnership and local government autonomy.
“Call on incumbent members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly to vote yes to local government autonomy before the expiration of their tenure.
“Advocate and engage the Kaduna North local government council to adopt and domesticate the co-creation principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP)
“Organize a capacity building engagement to deepen the understanding of selected active citizens on OGP and equip them with approaches for engaging the process,” it added.
At the programme which was held on September 5, 2018, in partnership with Network of Citizens in Governance (Campaign for Democracy (CD); Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED); Initiative for Collective Voice, Accountability and Progress (ICoVAPAfrica); Jay Concept International; and Leads Nigeria in partnership with Partnership it was observed that there is widespread mistrust of elected leaders which encourages citizens’ apathy before, during and after the electoral process.
It was also observed that majority of participants were unaware of the Open Government Partnership, as only few of them understood what it means and how it operates in Kaduna state.
“The participants were enthusiastic that adopting and domesticating the co-creation principles of the Open Government Partnership will go a long way in promoting meaningful citizens participation and good governance in Kaduna North local government area.
“Very few participants understood the importance of local government autonomy in enhancing inclusive and participatory development at the grassroots.
“Cheap primordial sentiments have been used to divide the electorates and manipulate their voting pattern to vote for candidates not based on merit.
“Majority of the elected officials who were once members of the communities usually forget about the developmental needs of the people when they get into public office, only to return with recycled promises when elections are near,” it said.
Increase citizens’ awareness on the electoral process towards meaningful participation and promoting issue-based campaigning.
It stressed that it was also targetted at deepening the understanding of citizens on Open Government Partnership and Local Government Autonomy as agenda for candidate and political parties 2019 general elections.
“Generate actionable steps for further engagement with critical stakeholders towards improving the quality of electorate participation in the general elections.
“Commence the process of domesticating the co-creation principles of the Open Government Partnership in Kaduna North local government.”
The programme aimed at educating voters and equipping them with the strategies to demand for the adoption of Open Government Partnership and Local government autonomy as pre-requisite for supporting candidates and political parties, had participants drawn from the twelve wards of Kaduna North Local Government Area, with representation from traditional institutions, religious leaders, political parties, community based groups, persons living with disabilities, youth and women groups, and media.