A UK Governance Programme, the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), is mobilising citizens’ groups, women, and the media to set agenda for the 2023 General Elections.
The State Team Facilitator, PERL, Mr Adejor Abel said at the engagement of the groups in Kaduna on Tuesday that citizens, women, and media had a critical role to play in the electoral process.
Abel said that the groups would influence the electoral process through agenda setting by articulating citizens’ needs, particularly the excluded groups, and engaging political office holders to make commitments.
He stressed the need for the citizens’ groups to be conversant with the electoral process, the legal framework and be up-to-date with development in the electoral circle.
“If you are not conversant with the electoral process, you will not be able to engage the electoral process effectively and make the desired impact.
“This engagement will, therefore, help us as citizens to determine where we are, what we want to do and how we can leverage existing platforms to push our electoral agenda forward.
“We need to leverage available social media platforms to set an agenda for the coming elections and track commitment by the political class.
“The media will also use evidence-based reporting to take the conversation forward, and push the political class to act and keep their commitments,” he said.
Abel advised citizens’ groups to utilise available media and social media platforms to push their issues and attract the conversations that would bring key results that meet citizens’ needs.
He stressed the need for effective use of civic technology for awareness creation and decision-making, describing it as a “viable tool’’ to engage the electoral process.
Earlier, Miss Grace Gankon, an Intern with PERL, said that the objective of the meeting was to strengthen citizens’ voices, including women and other excluded groups to articulate their demands.
Gankon said that the articulated demands would be used in engaging the electoral cycle and holding elected representatives to account based on their commitments.
She said that the meeting was also to partner with existing platforms, structures, and election partners to amplify voices and build on key reform issues.
“The engagement was also organised to strengthen the role of the media on setting agenda ahead of the electioneering period, deepen conversation and agree on strategies for tracking campaign commitments,” Gankon said.
Mr Yusuf Goje of the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development, said that democracy was about the people, and the media played a critical role in mobilising the people.
Goje advised journalists to be professional in the discharge of their responsibilities to be able to serve the people better by creating the needed awareness and holding the government to account.
Mr Abdul-Azeez Kadir, the General Manager, Liberty TV/Radio, said that there was the need for members of the public to be open and view the media as partners in progress for the good of all.