COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE 1-DAY MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS DIALOGUE MEETING FOR KOGI CENTRAL SENATORIAL DISTRICT ON PRIORITIZING ANTI-CORRUPTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY ISSUES TOWARDS 2023 ELECTIONS AT STATE LEVEL HELD AT AFIMS HOTELS, OKENE ON WEDNESDAY 2ND NOVEMBER 2022 ORGANIZED BY THE CONSCIENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CHRCR) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC)

 

 

*BACKGROUND* :
The 1-Day Dialogue Meeting was organized to deepen the understanding and strengthen the capacity of community stakeholders on prioritizing Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues towards the 2023 General Elections at State level in Kogi State.

The dialogue had in attendance selected Community Based Organizations, Traditional leaders, representatives of Women and Youth Groups, and the Media.

The meeting featured presentations on the Objectives and achievements of the project in Kogi State since inception by the Executive Director Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL, Impact Citizen Scorecard by the Executive Director of Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) HAMZA ALIYU.

The concluding component of the meeting involved the development of stakeholder-specific communique towards moving the Anti-Corruption and Accountability project forward at State level.

* There were plenary discussion sessions on understanding of concepts on accountability and Anti-Corruption, and clarification of issues around stakeholder’s responsibilities and roles in the Anti-Corruption and Accountability campaign.

* There was Question and Answer sessions during and after all sessions

*OBSERVATIONS*
The dialogue make the following observations on issues concerning Anti-Corruption and Accountability in Nigeria in General and in Kogi State specifically

* Corruption was widespread and is embedded beyond political and governance but also in personal and private conduct by citizens

* Vote Buying and selling was detrimental to the development of our elections

* Citizens were responsible for holding their government accountable through their constitutional responsibilities

* Civil Society represented a wide range of citizen groups but there were few functional and passionate organizations in Kogi State working on Anti-Corruption and Accountability

* An early warning sign that is dangerous in our politics is been witnessed in the Central Senatorial District due unguarded and inflammatory statements and utterances even within the government institutions, political parties and their candidates.

* Poor representation of Women was still a serious challenge in inclusive governance in the state despite the recent achievements by the present Administration particularly at Local Government councils level. Women have not leveraged on this advantage of having more women as aspirants and candidates in the 2023 elections in the State

* That there was limited interest and engagement of poor and marginalized citizens at the community level in terms of voters’ education

* Citizens at community levels seem not to take interest in candidates vying for offices at State levels but rather concentrate more on candidates vying for National offices particularly the Presidency.

* That there is limited and ineffective engagement by the Legislative arm at State levels on Accountability and Transparency

* Citizen engagement with political party and their Candidates is still a challenge and is responsible for the poor participation in Accountability in governance by community stakeholders

* Fake News and Mis-information is gaining momentum especially now during the political campaigns

* There is low knowledge and utilization of community charter of demand by CSOs and citizen groups in engaging Political Party Candidates towards the 2023 Elections

*RECOMMENDATIONS*
After much discussions and deliberations, the workshop made the following recommendations

– There is need for the political parties, Community/Traditional leaders and citizens to shun political violence and ensure that those identified and involved be held accountable through judicial means

The Security Agencies are urged to take note of these early warning signs by political gladiators and nip it in the bud

– That there is need for increase sensitization on Anti-Corruption and Accountability in Elections at grassroot levels

– Need for citizens and Citizen-groups to empower themselves on voter education through step-down of knowledge and information from engagement such as these on-going activities by CHRCR

– Need for INEC to improve on its enlightenment and stakeholders’ mobilization and engagement on its activities in Kogi State especially at the grassroot levels

– Women in government and those holding leadership positions to lead the advocacy in fighting for women participation through strategic engagements

– There is need for more proactive measures in promoting accountability and transparency in elections by the Legislative arm of government through the use of parliamentary instruments and tools particularly through oversight functions

– Need to increase Fact checking of information by citizens before dissemination

– Increasing awareness on use of Community Charter of Demand in engagement of Political Parties and their Candidates to promote Accountability and Transparency in elections

Political parties and Candidates urged to sensitize stakeholders, members of their party and supporters on proper voting using mock ballot papers to reduce incidence of rejected and invalid votes.

– Participants acknowledge the continued partnership between CHRCR and CISLAC and the support of MacArthur Foundation.

*Signed*
___________________________
*IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL*
*_Executive Director_*
Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR),
Lokoja, Kogi State.


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