An NGO, Godspeed Leadership and Mentorship Development Initiative (GLEMDI), has urged citizens to reject any campaign message not centred on strategies toward addressing the myriad of challenges confronting Nigeria.
GLEMDI’s Executive Director, Mr Habila Kayit, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, also advised citizens to reject any form of enticement that could cause security breach in the country.
Kayit advised citizens to use the campaign period for the 2023 general elections, starting on Sept. 28, to hold political parties and politicians accountable and engage them on challenges facing the nation and strategies for nation-building.
“As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) flags off the window for 2023 election campaigns, citizens must take this opportunity and engage politicians and political parties on their campaign manifestoes and strategies to restore and rebuild the country.
“The 2023 election is unique and Nigerians must not be carried away by the euphoria of the moment and sentiments of all sorts.
“We must seek to have better engagements, going forward, and place the country’s interest far above sectional, ethnic and religious considerations.
“Campaign promises that are short of the initiatives to address security, power, education, unemployment and diversification of the nation’s economy should be rejected,” he said.
Kayit said that Nigerians must seek to have clarity on how to solve the rising unemployment, security threats, epileptic power supply and unstable educational system, among others.
He said that citizens could not afford to go into the 2023 elections with no clear-cut demands and social agreement with political office seekers.
“Most politicians always use the campaign period to whitewash citizens into believing that they have what it takes to address the challenges bedeviling our nation, only to keep shifting blames after deceiving citizens into voting for them.
“The country has gone through difficult times, with citizens unable to hold office holders accountable for promises made during previous elections.
“Citizens have failed to read messages delivered by politicians during campaigns with a view to sizing up those with unrealistic promises.
“Voters must participate with utmost intensity with a view to assessing campaign messages and the viability of actualising campaign statements by politicians, and using their manifestoes to hold them accountable,” he said.
According to him, the campaigns have provided direction and guidance to citizens on who to vote for, come 2023.
Kayit advised Nigerians to exercise their franchise by voting candidates with clear-cut strategies to return the country back to the people.
He also advised politicians to centre their campaigns on issues and tame the excesses of some overzealous supporters who might likely cause security breach and overheat the polity.
“The security apparatus in the country are already over-stretched by the activities of bandits, Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal groups and should, therefore, not be compounded by election violence.
“The law enforcement agencies must be on alert and act professionally in dealing with electoral offenders in line with the provisions of the law.
“Violence-free election is possible if politicians avoid desperation and focus on how to woo citizens with their manifestoes.
“Nigerians must note that citizenship comes with privileges, duties and responsibilities.
“The major stakeholders in every election are the citizens. Therefore, they must reject every form of enticement to cause security breach and resolve to support all electoral stakeholders to deliver secure and hit-free elections,” he said.
The executive director reminded INEC that Nigerians would continue to hold it liable, should it fail to organise elections that would reflect their wishes.
“However, the reassurance by INEC that our votes will count is a confirmation that citizens will have the privilege to elect leaders that will serve with honour and dignity, come 2023,” he said.