The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) also known as Pirates Confraternity has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to engage more with political parties and stakeholders in the electoral process.
Director, Publicity and Public Relations, NAS, Mr John Okey, made the call in an interview during the association’s election sensitisation campaign in Abuja, tagged “Our Votes Count” .
The campaign, held under their Citizens Summit Initiative, was to reiterate the importance of citizens’ participation in the forthcoming elections.
Reacting to INEC’s regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the elections, Okey said the commission needed to engage with all stakeholders across board.
“I listened to the interview of the INEC chairman few days ago and he was justifying the electoral guidelines, saying it is for the people and they have decided what is best for the people.
“You do not do that. You need to engage across board. The political parties are actually inspired by stakeholders and they need to be engaged; it is about participation.
“The more people participate in elections, the easier the work is for INEC,” he said.
He also said a survey carried out by the association during several campaigns showed a considerable level of voter apathy, adding that the campaigns organised were to encourage Nigerians to vote.
“This is a follow up to previous campaigns. With this campaign, we are letting people know that their votes must count and it is recorded.
“It is a process and you must take responsibility to make sure that from the beginning to the end, the process is complete,’ he added.
Also speaking, National Vice President, Northern Nigeria, NAS, Mr Frank Okafor said the campaigns held would be sustained beyond the elections, noting that the association stood as a voice for the voiceless.
“Citizens Summit is an initiative of the NAS where we intend, on a non-partisan basis, to have dialogue with elected officials and with the citizens.
“We have members who are in government on a non-NAS supported political platform; they identify with any political party of their choice and aspire and take position.
“Because they belong to this association, we have a code of conduct that we can hold them accountable beyond the members of the association.
“So we try to build a bridge between promises made by officials and the citizens who the promises were made to; we demand to see results and we continuously engage,” he stressed.
President of the association, Abuja branch, Mr Stanley Nwodo, said that the campaigns were carried out nationwide to ensure that Nigerians were politically aware of the importance of shunning election vices.
“We are going to several places to inform citizens; we printed out flyers; we have jingles in English and Pidgin on the essence of coming out to vote because you cannot complain when you do not vote.
“We want to let citizens know that through their votes, they can hold their leaders accountable,” he said.
Nwodo called on Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the deadline of February 8.
Ex-APC National Chairman Tasks Party On Responsive Leadership
Chief John Odigie-oyegun, former National Chairman, All Progressives Congress APC), has charged the party’s leaders to be more progressive and responsive to the people.
He said this at the public presentation of a book”APC’S Litmus Test, Nigerian Democracy and Politics of Change”, written by Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Congress Forum (PGF) in Abuja, yesterday.
“We are in charge today, a progressive government, a progressive regime, and I think it is proper that we show to the nation that when the people want some degree of change, “we should be responsive to it, we should address it, compromises have to be made, there’s no question about that,” Odigie-Oyegun said.
He added that the APC document on true federalism was still being worked upon before its release.
Odigie-Oyegun said the ideas of people from different parts of the country would be different up to the extent that they would want to go with the proposals in the document.
He said it was however, necessary, vital and mandatory in the interest of the survival of the country that issues regarding federalism were addressed.
“We cannot continue to allow the subject to become something that threatens our nation at any turn.
“So, the earlier we address it, the earlier we show that as a party we are responsive to the feelings of the people, the desires of the people and the wants of the people.
“It becomes easier then, to diffuse the kind of stresses that the nation is passing through today,”Odigie-Oyegun said.
He added that for those at the formation of the APC, the uniqueness of its Constitution and its manifesto promised change was meant by all members with their hearts and beings.
He said unfortunately, the forces of economics had made things not quite the way it was planned.
The APC former national chairman said there was need for the party members to do everything possible to keep it not just alive but very virile.
He added that in spite of general belief, the APC was one party that had put together things that meant hope for the country.
He said the fact that things were bad and people were angry and hungry was not questionable, saying that these were worldwide phenomenon.
Odigie-Oyegun decried the current security challenge in the country.
“It is my hope that we will begin to get control of the security of this nation,” he said.
PDP Rep Harps On Justice, Dialogue To Secure Nigeria
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), House of Representatives member has enjoined Nigerian leaders to tow the path of justice, equity, dialogue, and rule of law in the country.
Rep. Toby Okechukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, said this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja to commemorate the Democracy Day
He added that such path would help to arrest worsening insecurity and arrest separatist agitations across the country.
Okechukwu said that opportunities still abound in preserving the nation’s democracy and reconstruct the union to a more workable piece.
He said that June 12 was designated Democracy Day in honour of a symbol of the nation’s democratic struggles, the late Chief MKO Abiola.
He added that Abiola was unjustly denied the opportunity to exercise an overwhelmingly popular mandate handed him by the Nigerian people on June 12 1993, but only to be celebrated at death.
“The greatest debt the governments and leaders of Nigeria owe every part of this country and every Nigerian is a sense of justice and equity according to the letters and spirit of our constitution.
“The golden rule of justice is to do unto others as you would have them to unto you,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to take conscious steps to do things that would promote national unity and earn it loyalty.
He also called on leaders to be proactive in creating a clement environment for peace to reign to arrest the present security challenges in the country.
Okechukwu commended the leaders of the South East and the Federal Government for the June 11, dialogue in Enugu to deescalate tension in the region.
He stated that it was a right step that should be sustained and replicated nationwide, while wishing Nigerians a happy Democracy Day.
Democracy Day: PDP Lawmakers Wants Observance Of Rule Of Law
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has called for strict observance of the rule of law to improve democratic practice in the country.
The caucus made the call in a statement by its Leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) last Saturday in Abuja.
Chinda called for an environment that would guarantee freedom of speech and standard operations for the fourth estate of the realm.
The lawmaker stressed the need to place greater value on Nigerian lives and for decisive and pragmatic steps to end the avoidable deaths in the country.
He called on the government to restrain the Police and other security agencies from further unleashing violence on unarmed youths and other peaceful protesters.
“They choose to go out and exercise their rights in commemoration of Democracy Day.
“June 12 is a symbol of democratic freedom and supremacy of the people’s power and should be respected by ensuring that all the tenets of democracy are adhered to in all ramifications.
“June 12 is not only about introspection, it is about renewing the commitments of all to the growth of democracy in our dear county.
“It is about ensuring that our country is never again enveloped by darkness, hemmed to the abyss by the sinister forces that threaten our collective rights and freedoms,” he said.
Chinda urged all Nigerians to hold on to democratic principles in spite of the challenges facing the country saying that “good will triumph over evil.”
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