COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE 1-DAY POST 2023 ELECTIONS REVIEW MEETING WITH POLITICAL PARTIES ON ANTI-CORRUPTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN ELECTIONS AT STATE LEVEL IN KOGI STATE HELD AT HALIMS HOTEL, GANAJA JUNCTION, LOKOJA ON THURSDAY 6TH JULY 2023 ORGANIZED BY THE CONSCIENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CHRCR) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC)
The conclusion of the 2023 general elections has further strengthened the democratic experiment in Nigeria and entrenched deeper governance of our nation through the ballot. However, like many human activities, there has been several complaints and disenchantment from participating stakeholders especially Political parties and their candidates. Some of the contending issues range from the perceived non adherence to Guidelines by the Electoral Umpire, to technological issues around the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS), and these issues are currently been challenged in the Election tribunals.
Sequel to these is the commencement of activities towards the conduct of the November 2023 Kogi State Governorship elections (one of 3 off-cycle elections in Nigeria).
The objective of the 1-Day meeting was to review the 2023 general elections as it affects the Anti-Corruption and Accountability and as part of CHRCR continuation of the engagement on prioritizing Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues towards the 2023 General Elections at State level in Kogi State with recognized political parties. It also part of projecting forward issues around Accountability and Anti-Corruption in the upcoming November 11th 2023 Governorship elections in the State.
The meeting had in attendance INEC recognized Political parties, and Media Practitioners/Journalists.
The engagement featured presentations on the role of that political parties should play in the fight against Corruption and promoting Accountability by Executive Director CHRCR Idris Miliki, Impact of Political party Scorecards facilitated by the Executive Director of Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) and Communique development.
There were plenary discussion sessions on the aftermath of General elections, political party primaries in Kogi State towards the November 11th 2023 Governorship election, campaign issues, and the political atmosphere in the State.
There was Question and Answer sessions during and after all presentation by each of the political parties in attendance.
The meeting made the following observations on issues concerning Anti-Corruption and Accountability in Nigeria in General and at State level in Kogi State towards the November 11th 2023 elections:
– Lack of commitment by Political parties and their Candidates during the last 2023 general elections to Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues
– Despite the numerous engagements by Civil Society Organizations with political parties towards the 2023 general election, there no enough documentary evidence from political parties and their candidates to show commitment to the Anti-Corruption and Accountability fight
– Poor inclusivity of women in the last 2023 general election as candidates therefore marginalizing women in leadership positions at both party and elective position levels.
– Poor Voters Education in the last general election by both INEC and political parties thus leading to large voter apathy and low confidence levels on the process
– Level of women participation towards the November 11th Governorship election is poor as only 1 Governorship Candidate in the upcoming Governorship election is a woman
– Political parties in opposition are not doing enough to hold the ruling Party accountable
– The State Legislature plays a critical role in Anti-Corruption and Accountability and the Kogi State House of Assembly has not been effective in its constitutional role of oversight
– Little or no participation of Civil Society in the Political parties November 2023 primaries, despite the existing collaborations
– The internal party democracy is still a challenge as the process often ends in judicial dispute that affects the outcome of elections and could promote violence
– There has not been visible anti-corruption campaign issues in the campaign activities of the political parties and their candidates
– There is still limited visible activities by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) towards the November 11th 2023 Governorship Elections in Kogi State
– The Parties and their Candidates are not enlightening their followers enough during their campaigns through distribution of Party and Candidates manifestos
– Political party leaders and Candidates often do not fully understand the legal frameworks for election such as the Electoral Act 2022 and other relevant laws and Guidelines.
– That the leading political parties have consistently absented themselves from engagement with the citizens and relevant stakeholders (particularly the Civil Society) in the elections even when invited
– The increasing attacks, destruction and damage to lives and properties is raising tension and concern making citizens apprehensive about the elections and this will not augur well for the State for citizen’s participation
– The general insecurity environment proceeding the elections has become a cause of worry that could lead to voter apathy on election day.
– Mandates of Political parties to their Candidates are not written and this makes it difficult to hold Political parties Accountable as they are not specific as to what they intend to do.
At the end of deliberations, the participants agreed and made the following recommendations
1. There is need to encourage more women to participate in political party activities making them emerge as Candidates at all levels.
2. The Opposition political parties must perform their functions of holding the ruling party accountable
3. IPAC must reorganize and re-energize their activities towards performing its roles of holding its members accountable
4. Internal party democracies should be strengthened by collaboration with Civil Society Organizations and other relevant stakeholders during primaries and other party activities
5. Political parties and their Candidates need to include anti-corruption transparency and accountability in their campaign activities and manifestos
6. Political parties and their Candidates should ensure that they use their campaign activities to promote their manifestos to their members and the general public.
7. Hate speech, inflammatory utterances and unguided statements by political party members, candidates and their supporters should be checked by Security Agencies and INEC and those found wanting should be prosecuted
8. Security Agencies must be proactive in addressing perceived and real insecurity issues in Kogi State to ensure a free, fair and credible elections and encourage citizens participation and confidence.
Participants appreciated the continuous engagement of CHRCR and Political Parties in the State, with the collaboration of CISLAC and support of MacArthur Foundation
*IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL*
*CONCIENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CHRCR)*
*LOKOJA, KOGI STATE*
*6TH JULY, 2023*