Civil society group, Centre for Transparency Initiative (CTA) has called on political parties to back their manifestos for the 2023 general elections with a court affidavit to make them legal documents actionable in court in case of breach.
The group also called on candidates in the elections to unveil plans on how they will tackle the challenges of insecurity and energy in the country when elected.
Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday said candidates must also address the lingering strike action by university teachers in the country.
She said: “As we move into the campaign period, we expect that the political atmosphere will be charged. It is imperative therefore, that political parties make their campaigns issue based and convince Nigerians to vote for their candidates based on sound proposals of alternative solutions to the issues that are of utmost concern to Nigerians. CTA is expecting that campaigns and manifestoes would be tailored but not limited to the under-listed agenda.
“In recent years, Nigeria has been inundated with severe security challenges that have almost brought the everyday activity of Nigerians to a halt. Sacred security institutions, infrastructure, Very Important Persons, Schools, worship centres, Children and Nigerian citizens have been left to the mercy of bandits, kidnappers, and sundry criminals.
“The Centre for Transparency Advocacy is calling on the political parties and their candidates to tell Nigerians in realistic terms how they intend to end insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminalities. Citizens are eager to know the solutions that political parties are proffering to the lingering security challenges.
“Nigeria is a major producer of crude oil and gas that should ordinarily translate to economic blessing and energy boost. Nigeria is equally blessed with wind power and other natural resources that will enhance the energy needs of Nigeria if harnessed and put in good use. This year alone, the National grid has failed about seven times subjecting Nigerians to darkness, less productive and darkness notwithstanding the abundance of natural gas that could power the nation as an alternative source of energy. CTA is asking that elimination of gas flare and high cost of petroleum products be made a campaign issue. Energy options have become imperative.
“Political parties should consider and in fact include discussions on fuel subsidy and domestic consumption of fuel in their campaigns. Our demand is that political parties and their candidates should tell Nigerians how they will cushion the effect of high energy cost, whether fuel subsidy will stay or go and how they will provide renewable energy options since that is where the world is going now.
“It is sad that Nigerian university students have been kept at home for over 7 months due to a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Within this period, other unions at tertiary institutions had embarked on strike actions that are inimical to the education system in Nigeria. Political parties and their candidates should make it a point to tell Nigerians how they will mitigate the protracted strikes in the education system and other rots bedeviling the Nigerian education sector from the Primary, post primary and tertiary levels. Foreign educational institutions are cashing out on the rot of our system, encouraging Nigerian youth to seek alternative education in foreign lands”.
Nwadishi also raised the issue of fiscal responsibility and anti-corruption in the country, saying “amid dwindling resources arising from oil theft, non-remittances of revenue to the government-by-government agencies. The dwindling fiscal outlook has put the country in a financial quandary. The economic future of Nigeria is linked to fiscal responsibility. The fiscal choices we make today have implications for the future. Political parties and candidates need to tell Nigerians in their campaigns how they will strengthen the fiscal policies to encourage growth and productivity.
“Political parties and candidates should include in their campaigns a clear path to inclusive governance and gender sensitivity in their government if elected.
“Protection of civic space: Citizens need structures to organize and participate. This will help build progressive institutions. Enacting and promoting harsh policies and limiting participation are part of the issues hampering development and repressing civic space. Participation of citizens is crucial for impact but reducing civic space has made this challenging. The campaigns should address this issue by outline what steps they intend to take to create a more conducive environment for civic space”.
She disclosed that CTA will be “tracking election campaign promises and will be giving an update periodically in the same vein, we urge citizens and the media to monitor and track campaign promises made by political office holders to hold them accountable”.