Kaduna Stakeholders Reflect on Engagements with Party Candidates on Agenda Setting

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Kaduna State citizens representatives; the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), on Wednesday reviewed their engagements with political parties candidates as they set agenda for them ahead of 2023 general elections.

According to stakeholders at the reflection meeting which was organized by Partnership for Issues-based Campaigns in Nigeria (PICaN) in collaboration with Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL), politicians are beginning to buy in to the demands of citizens.

PERL, had supported accountability mechanisms and other groups in the state including women and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) to develop a demand charter and also supported PICaN to organize dialogue with party candidates of both governorship and legislator, where the charter was handed to them.

They noted that the fact that the candidates invited were able to participate in the dialogues which were both physical, virtual and on air (radio), is an attestation that they are ready to listen to the demands by the people.

They noted that the engagements has awaken the consciousness of citizens to begin to ask those that want to represent them the right questions and also present their needs as community before them.

The stakeholders observed that the dialogues with the politicians opened up opportunities for other stakeholders to engage with candidates, adding that bringing the candidates together for such dialogue also symbolizes peace.

They however called for synergy among civil society organizations and mechanisms and the media in the state, in coming up with a stronger dialogue as they engage candidates instead of organizing separate activities, going forward.

The essence of the meeting was to reflect and review Agenda Setting activities with candidates, document lessons learned for adaptation in deepening engagement with candidates; and generate strategies for more collaborative engagements by partners during and after the elections.

Earlier in his remarks, Istifanus Akau, Partnership Facilitator for PERL, said with various dialogues in the state, citizens are now changing politics from what it used to be, this he expressed hope would impact the coming elections in the state.

“We are now seeing issues based engagements with politicians which will impact on the overall politics and elections in Kaduna State. This meeting is strategic and at the end of today we expect you to come up with more ways to continue to engage with them as we approach to elections.

Also, a Lead partner with PiCaN, Yusuf Goje, noted that it is practically impossible to hold politicians accountable when you don’t have any contact with them, which was the main purpose of the various dialogues where they were able sign social contract with those they want to govern by telling them what they plan to do.

“We are now beginning to see how open some of them are. And as partners, we would make more impact if we are able to put our resources together to push for one course in the interest of our people”. He added.

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