Sun. Sep 24th, 2023

Maureen Okpe

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has stated  the need for a  free and fair election process, insisting Nigerians deserve more after 23 years of democratic rule.

In a statement to comemmorate democracy day by the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan,  on Sunday, expressed concerns over the forth coming election, stressing the need to counter any attempt to disrupt peaceful election in Nigeria.

Recall that democracy day was marked on May 29 being the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, the Muhammadu Buhari government had changed democracy day to June 12 in solidarity with MKO Abiola Day, usually celebrated in Lagos and some states to observe the democratic election of Abiola on June 12.

Idayat, while commending the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) charged Nigerians to support initiatives that unite the country and promote good governance as it is critical in democracy noting politicians and supporters must prioritize the interest of the nation rather than  fuel disunity as the country is already at a crossroad.

“We appreciate the efforts being made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so far. No Nigerian must be disenfranchised. We want the vote of Nigerians to also count. Politicians must understand the plight of Nigerians and desist from any action that will lead to disunity.

“This democracy day should remind the president and anybody vying into political office that Nigerians deserve a better country. I am afraid, the country will not move forward if we fail to deal with our challenges. It is now urgent than ever before,” Hassan said.

“We therefore urge politicians to focus on issue based campaign and desist from disinformation or fake news. It is also important that politicians desist from using religion and ethnicity to further divide the country. The level of division we have seen is enough. It is time for us to unite,” she said.

Worried over the state of the nation as well as the economy, especially the growing debt profile and insecurity, Hassan said there was urgent need to revive the economy from total collapse and tackle the root causes of insecurity.

The Director stated that, with the nation’s public debt standing at N41 trillion, unemployment rate hovering at over 33 per cent while inflation rose by 16.82 per cent year-on-year in April 2022 and exchange rate already standing at N603 to a naira at the black market, there was need to reverse the gloomy state of the nation’s economy.

“The state of the country is getting worst by the day. The rate of insecurity is now at its height. The devaluation of the naira and disparity between naira and other major currencies is at the peak. We can’t continue like this knowing very well that we are one of the fastest growing countries in the world in terms population.”

CDD stated that the seven years of Buhari government could have been better, especially when compared with the series of promises made before the government came to power.

The  organisation admitted that some gains have been recorded in the fight against corruption but added that a lot more could be done, especially in the areas of blocking leakages and involving the whole of society.

Hassan noted that unless the country wins against corruption, widening inequality, poverty, lack of development, unemployment, marginalization and insecurity may persist.

“We need to adopt a whole of society approach and block leakages. It is not time for the president to go to bed. The next one year is very critical. In fighting corruption, we need a shift from sanction to long term approach that will focus on blocking leakages.

She equally tasked Nigerians to do everything possible in supporting their country, adding that it shouldn’t be about citizen’s rights alone but their duties towards a better country.

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