Convener of the Situation Room, Ene Obi at a news conference on the state of the nation on Tuesday, in Abuja, said the group was worried over the present state of the nation.
2023: CSOs caution politicians on ethno-religious campaigns
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room), a coalition of Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) has cautioned politicians against ethno-religious campaigns ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Obi said based on the foregoing, Situation Room had raised some concerns in terms of the political atmosphere, insecurity, economic outlook, prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and made some recommendations.
“The current politicking and political alignments call for caution as the country progresses to the 2023 general elections, there are concerns that politicians have not desisted from stoking ethno-religious rhetoric ahead of the election.
“Instead of basing their campaigns on issues that will benefit the citizens, supporters of candidates have resorted to rhetoric that have focused on personalities, insults, mudslinging and smearing, especially online.
“With the beginning of campaigns a few months away, it becomes important for citizens to make demands on candidates and political parties to state issues of focus for their campaigns to enable citizens to hold them to account on their being elected.’’
Obi said that the Situation Room had received reports of a tedious registration process in the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), in spite of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s assurances of a seamless process.
She said the Situation Room also observed that the CVR which ended on July 31, would leave many willing Nigerians disenfranchised from the 2023 polls even when the Commission could stretch itself a bit more to continue registering voters.
According to her, INEC should extend the CVR for another two months to accommodate more prospective voters as there is still a window for extension in accordance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
She said the Situation Room expressed disappointment over the state of the nation and incidents that took place in the first and second quarter of the year.
Obi said that a few months ago, on May 12, Situation Room raised alarm on the rising rate of insecurity in the country as well as the level of transparency and accountability in the electoral process, among other concerns.
“It is rather disheartening that two months later, the State of the Nation has further depreciated, thereby, raising questions about the leadership of the country.
“The state of insecurity in the country has deteriorated so much that most parts of the country are now being threatened by non-state armed men with various nomenclature like Bandits, Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), Kidnappers and unknown gunmen.
“Recently, Kuje Medium Security Correctional Facility in Abuja was raided by the insurgents leading to the release of high-profile terrorists from the prison without strong resistance and have threatened to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari and other high-profile politicians.
“The entire security architecture of the country should be rejigged by the president to combat the worrisome expansion of insecurity in the country.’’
She said a thorough investigation into the jailbreak in Kuje Medium Security Correctional Facility should be carried out, and those responsible for guarding the Prison should be relieved of their duties.
Obi said Situation Room called on the National Assembly to intensify oversight functions on the executive beyond threats of impeachment of the president.
She urged the Senate to carry out a thorough background check and scrutiny of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners to allay any political party affiliation or alignment by any of the nominees.
The group also called on the Minister of Education to resolve the persistent industrial action by ASUU so that students could return to school.
She urged the Federal Government to take steps to address the current economic challenges, alarming unemployment rate, plummeting exchange rate and financial hardship on the citizens.
Obi also urged the government to reconsider the introduction of new taxes on Nigerians, notably the proposed five per cent inclusive excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria, raising the tax to 12.5 per cent.
Obi said Situation Room called on Nigerian citizens to put their state governors to task and demand accountability for their actions or inactions regarding the state of the nation.
According to her, citizens hasve certain responsibility and obligations that relate to active participation in society and government.
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