Campaign issues: Group cautions politicians against deceiving electorate

Comrade Jaye Gaskia, the convener of CFTG, addressing leaders of trade unions and CSOs on Wednesday in Lagos

A socio-political group, Campaign for Transformative Governance (CFTG), has urged Nigerian politicians to address issues bordering on citizens’ plights rather than lying to them during campaigns.

Speaking at a news conference in Lagos after a two-day retreat on Wednesday, Mr Jaye Gaskia, the Convener of CFTG, said the group remained apolitical, but to educate electorate to vote individuals who would improve their conditions. 

Gaskia said that the 2023 elections should be based on issues that have direct impacts on the lives of the people, hence the need for the electorate to be well educated.

According to him, this will also allow them to engage politicians before casting their votes.

“Our focus is to ensure that, in the country, we have a governance that is responsive to the needs of the ordinary people.

“A governance that addresses aspirations of citizens and not just aspirations of a few governance that is for the overwhelming majority and not for the few.

“Our immediate target right now is how to influence and mobilise Nigerian citizens to engage productively with the current electioneering campaigns in a manner that will influence the content of debates and conversations as well as the outcome of the elections.

“We want to shift things away from talking about a candidate’s ethnic origin and faith, but rather on capacity to deliver.

“We are basically looking at public service delivery in human security, healthcare, education, housing, energy, environment and transportation,” he said.

According to him, in the last two days, the campaign has been reviewing activities in the past and also projecting into the future.

The convener said that the campaign was aimed at ensuring access to public service delivery, human security and political education.

Gaskia said that a situation where there was massive unemployment, poverty and inflation increases the call for people to thoroughly interrogate political actors before making their choices in the 2023 elections.

“We want the citizens to engage political actors on the basis of informed background, equipped with information necessary for a choice that will be in their own interests,” he said.

Gaskia said that the group had been developing working people’s charter of engagements across the state and country which reflects the priority of citizens in a state.

“Our target is how do we go back to an economy that supports employment, job creation, and entrepreneurial development.

“As a campaign, we are going to engage political parties and political actors on these and ensure that we make them to commit to those issues.

“Once political actors commit to those issues, we will be there after the elections have been won and lost, to ensure those who emerge actually govern in the interest of the working people, ” he said.

Gaskia said that the composition of the group, which include trade unions, informal sector workers and CSOs all over the country would aid the political awareness.

According to him, the group has been organising its membership at the ward, local, senatorial district and state levels to increase political awareness and education.

Also speaking, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary, Federation of Informal Workers Organisation of Nigeria (FIWON), said that most candidates had not been able to address issues bordering on the plights of the people.

Komolafe said, “When issues around employment, economy and others are not resolved, there will be increase in crimes.

“We want to see politicians we can align with on the bases of programmes. We want the politicians to be accountable to the constitution of Nigeria.”

NAN reports that the retreat had in attendance leaders from the Trade Union Congress, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), FIWON and Pro-Labour CSOs drawn across the federation.

The theme of the retreat is: “Promoting Trade Union and CSO Collaboration in Protecting Democratic Civic Spaces in Fragile Democracies.” (NAN)