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Nigerians, Charged to be Patriotic Citizens

25 February 2015

Nigerians, Charged to be Patriotic Citizens

Nigerians have again been called on to be patriotic and play their roles to ensure credible and successful elections.

The call was made at a one day Dialogue Session on Citizens and Election, organised by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in collaboration with the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Participants at the dialogue were drawn from civil society, political parties, Human Rights Commission, Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, Nigeria Press Council and other sectors, to deeply look at situations surrounding the Nigeria 2015 general elections and possible way forward.

In a welcome remark, the Director General of IPCR, Professor Oshita O. Oshita, urged politicians to abide by the provisions of the peace accord signed to guide their conducts towards electoral campaigns.

He further stated that Nigerians should not fail to call them to order whenever they undermine the agreement.

In a remark, the Deputy Director, Nigerian Press Council, Mrs Stella Jibrin noted that as a regulatory agency for print media, the Council has been training journalists on how to report without inflaming the polity, to ensure a free and fair election.

She added that they do not have the power to sanction any organisation that goes contrary to the ethics of journalism but what they do is to monitor and keep records of their reportage.

During a panel discussion, the panellists looked at the role of stakeholders in peace building and security in Nigeria; the role of the media in peaceful process on the 2015 elections; and the prospects and challenges of women and youth participation in elections.

The panellists also considered the need to promote peaceful coexistence among religious bodies and avoid politicized faith.

At the end of the panel discussion and responds to questions that were asked, it was agreed that the public should be sensitized on the need to shun electoral-violence and vote according to their conscience.

It was also agreed that rehabilitation programs should be developed for youths, an environment for youths and women participation in politics should be provided,

Considering the level at which political party members and supporters make use of hate and inflammatory speeches, it was decided that it should be stopped and whoever defaults should be sanctioned.

At the end of the discussion, it was also settled that partisan CSOs that incite tension in the people towards the general elections, should be held accountable for their actions. CSOs were advised to be non-partisans and educate the public on how to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections.

Recognising the family as the basis of peace building in the country, the Panellists encouraged Nigerians to put the nation first, while discouraging ethnic divide and involvement of religious and traditional leaders in politics.

They further advised that the processes in appointing or selecting heads of government institutes and organisations should be changed in a way that the legislative or executive arm of government does not have the sole right to appoint and dissolve appointments. It was also suggested that laws should be institutionalised to be able to sanction offenders.

The dialogue session also deliberated on what becomes of the civilian JTF after the fight against Bokoharam, and it was suggested that they should be rehabilitated, engaged in vocational trainings and be absorbed into the paramilitary, among others.

Members of the panel included representatives of the Civil Society, Mr Jaye Gaskia and Dr Fatima Zanna Gana; representatives of the National Orientation Agency, the Departmental Security Officer, Barrister Juliet ojatabu; Human Rights Commission, Barrister Dahiru S. Bobbo; Nigeria Press Council, the Deputy Director, Mrs Stella Jibrin; and Centre for Women Studies and Interventions, Barrister Pascal Idogbe.

 

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