As preparations for the 2023 general elections gather pace, Strategy and Innovation for Development Initiative (SI4DEV), a non-governmental organization advocating for good governance, improved service delivery, transparency and accountability, has sensitized Nigerians for peaceful elections.
SI4DEV organized a strategic dialogue event on peaceful elections, leadership and good governance events convened by coordinator Julie Obi.
With the aim of provoking actions that will lead to peaceful elections and to sensitize more citizens to get involved in political leadership, good governance, elections and the voting process.
In her earlier opening remarks, the Head of Strategy and Innovation for the Lagos Development Initiative; Julie Obi said the elections are approaching and the candidates are already preaching solutions to many of the problems we face in Nigeria. Yet very few think of creative solutions.
The United States of America hopes that the elections will represent the will of all Nigerians and lead the country down the path of good governance, the United States Policy Officer at the Nigerian Consulate General, Janine Lewis, said during the interactive forum titled “Strategic Dialogue Event”. on Peaceful Elections, Leadership and Good Governance held recently at the American Corner, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to her, the United States believes it is essential for Nigeria to hold credible elections, we will observe the elections as part of the political process. Nigerian politicians and citizens must remain engaged and support the democratic electoral process.
“We are pleased with the federal government’s assurances of holding free and credible elections and its commitment to providing a secure environment for the elections. The United States hopes that the elections and the thoughts of these elections will represent the will of all Nigerians.
“We call on leaders to take responsibility for their actions. Another priority is to support a more inclusive political environment. A world where women, youth and people with disabilities can fully participate and lead at all levels of government and within political parties,” she said.
“There is a history of politicians using young people at times when it is to their advantage. But after the fact that young people are left alone, they are left to do what they want. Young people must decide what they want for Nigeria in 2023. And once they have a unified vision, select leaders who can actively participate in politics and who can effectively bring about the changes that will build a united Nigeria.
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“So my biggest thing is not to give up. But don’t stay on the sidelines either. You have to be part of the solution.
“Over the past two years, Nigerian civil society has advocated for increasing the number of women participating in the political and electoral process. Other USAID-sponsored organizations such as the Young African Leadership Initiative Network continue to encourage engagement and offer free online courses to encourage you to participate at all levels of the political process and leadership.
“The work of CSOs here in Nigeria led the Senate to reconsider the gender equality amendments we saw in March, the ratification of the 2018 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which received a five-year period. implementation mandate and the Nigerian Action Plan for Youth Employment 2001 to 2024.
“This progress may seem slow and arduous, but it is progress in building and consolidating the democratic institutions and ideals needed in Nigeria.
Likewise, Alabi Opeyemi, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), called on young Nigerians to get deeply involved in politics at all levels, especially at the grassroots.
“Young Nigerians care less about local government transparency. Rather focus more at the national or state level. So to build political leadership, we need to know how the dynamics of politics work, because many of us might not be interested in politics, which is a must for us to be involved.
However, Lanre Ogundipe, Executive Director of Imperial EdTech, said youth involvement and participation in politics, civic education should be reintroduced into the Nigerian education system.
“Why are our teachers and schools not preparing us to be the best leaders as much as they are preparing us to be the best professionals and the best workers, is because there has been a civic disconnect in our system We can either go from the bottom of the approach or go from the top down.
He added that for people to understand the electoral process, we need to get civic education in primary schools, secondary schools, universities and the workplace.
Si4dev is a non-governmental organization that advocates for good governance, improved service delivery, transparency and accountability.