By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi
As the nation’s general elections draw near, citizens of the country, especially those in Kano State, have a great role to play in engaging aspirants, candidates and political parties to be aware of the role they are expected to play in moving the society to greater heights.
Each and every citizen should be aware of and take the aspirants or candidates on the immediate needs of a certain community.
The last election was held in 2019, while fresh one is scheduled to take place early next year.
As such a lot of advocacy is expected to engage the political actors on certain thematic areas that have direct bearing on the lives of the entire citizenry.
Such areas include education, health, agriculture, commerce, environment, water resources, information technology, rural and community development, women and social development, people with disabilities, transportation, works and housing, youth and sports development, tourism and sometime even disaster management among others.
The candidates or aspirants should be made to make some pledges and commitments or be reminded on the need to give priority to some of the above areas for a better community.
The civil society and community based organizations should be alive to their responsibilities by taking it as a duty upon themselves, including the media, to ask or alert the aspirants on the need to respond or pay attention to community-driven issues so that the best could be achieved. Societal problems should receive more attention from political actors in order to pave way for proper solution to them.
That is why Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a supported programme by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), organized a two-day meeting for citizens and stakeholders on the ‘2023 Electoral Process.’ The objective of the event, according to PERL’s Malam Yunusa Hamza, was that the participants were gathered to develop a clear road map and a holistic advocacy strategy on issues prioritization.
He said such issues bordered on economic resilience with political parties, aspirants and contestants vying for positions on the run up to the next year’s general elections as they affect the citizens of the state at all levels. During the event proper, on day one, all the participants have had a reflection on the 2019 electoral process, especially on the roles the citizens played before, during and after the election.
There was a focus on building on the 2019 Electoral Process alongside introducing the 2023 citizens’ thematic areas. It was perfected by group work on the thematic areas with, later, a presentation on the groups’ exercises to the plenary.
The various groups were able to come up with a lot of thematic areas, their solutions and time frame in which such advocacy should be done appropriately.
The groups’ focus on the 2023 general elections was on demand charters/ community development, government performance review, improving business environment, youth engagement/ empowerment and legislative and legislature. Others are mandate protection, sectoral issues – blockages in the delivery of basic amenities and services, inclusive elections, partisan politics and insecurity.
During day two, the participants were again broken into groups of sectors of human endeavour in the state, such as education, health, agriculture, commerce, environment, youth, women affairs and people with disabilities among vital other ones.
They were able to suggest areas to pursue advocacy with aspirants, candidates and political parties, preferably before, during and after the general elections – with attention to be given on follow up on the issues raised that have more impact on the lives of the citizens.
The event was attended by members of various community based and civil society organizations, traditional title holders, civil servants, people with disabilities, media, academia and development partners among others.