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How 2023 elections can be successful, by Obasa, Yishawu

Ayodele Olalere

 Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and the lawmaker representing Eti-Osa Constituency II in the Assembly, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, at the weekend, said for 2023 elections to be successful, the government must provide early policy direction for the  conduct of the elections.

Both lawmakers spoke at the three day Lagos State 17th Executive/Legislative Parley which began on Friday and ended on Sunday.

At the parley with the theme: ”Mobilising Citizens as a Social Capital Towards 2023 General Elections,” the lawmakers emphasized the need for collaboration between the two arms of government for seamless governance.

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According to Obasa, there should be early and adequate voter education to avoid voter apathy, violence and cases of void votes during the exercise, adding that the fact that Nigeria is preparing for the 2023 elections means that democracy has become entrenched in the country.

“The fact that Nigeria is planning another election after 23- years of democratic transition is a sign that democratic principles have been widely accepted in spite of the myriad of problems confronting the process.

“As the nation shows growing commitment to its stability, the time is ripe for civil society to prepare itself and the citizenry to demand power sharing in a truly participatory democracy,” Obasa said.

He added; “As is evident enough, the negligence of the importance of voter education has been responsible for violence, a bulk of void votes, and apathy during past elections. It is unfortunate that Nigeria operates fire brigade approach in some of our undertakings, especially as regards to voter education.

“As it were, political education is a prerequisite for enhanced political skills, knowledge and participation in democracy.

“Electoral violence and other factors such as cultural practices, family background, institutional and low level of political knowledge, no doubt, militate against political participation.

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“The citizens for want of security, consequent upon electoral violence, develop aparthy toward political participation. Therefore, to maximize the benefits of political education programmes and ensure sustainable democracy in Nigeria, the government and other political education agencies should develop a pragmatic political education framework.”

He, however, advised that the responsibility of educating potential voters should not be left to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) alone.

“Political parties, civil societies, religious and traditional institutions, as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should also collaborate with the electoral body in this regard.

“The government should be willing to fund such organisations in the voter education campaign, from the grassroots level upwards. When this is prioritised, the process of complaints where one’s name is omitted, the dangers of violence and rigging, how to protect votes and how to make votes count generally will be avoided,” he said.

On his part, Yishawu said, “The purpose of the parley is not just bonding between legislature and executive, it is more about sharing ideas on how to better the lots of the people. Most of the policies and direction in Lagos today are being propelled from this kind of interaction. So it (parley) is very important to governance and I’m happy it has been sustained. I give kudos to the people who started it and the people that have sustained it.”

Speaking on the 2023 presidential election, Yishawu stated, “For me and I know a lot of people believe that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the only candidate to beat come 2023. This is somebody that has distinguished himself, his records and pedigree speak for him.

“But in politics you don’t just sit back and say I know who I am. This is a leader that is able to see the unseen and foresee the unknown. So we need that kind of qualities to be able to take us from where we are today and take us to where we ought to be.”