NHRC holds Gubernatorial Town Hall in Kaduna
…..says Fulfilment, Enjoyment of Rights are indicators of Functioning Democratic System
By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Thursday held a gubernatorial town hall meeting for candidates seeking election in Kaduna State.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, SAN in his remarks noted that the fulfilment and enjoyment of human rights are critical indicators of a properly functioning democratic system, adding that thriving democracy equally provides the best environment for the Protection and Fulfilment of rights.
Represented by an Assistant Director, Rosemary Igboyi, the ES, said the event was a non-partisan one and that it was not meant to endorse any candidate or evaluate their performance, rather the commission is using the platform to develop a value system that places human rights as a key element in the electoral process and democracy in the state.
According to him, “It is the Commission’s hope that Political candidates, including those who have honoured our invitation today shall focus their campaigns on strategies to protect and fulfil the human rights of the Nigerian people. I will end by reiterating that this Gubernatorial town hall is a non-partisan event.
“The Commission extended invitations to all the Political Parties and their Governorship Candidates to participate in this Town Hall. I want to thank the candidates who are here today. We are grateful to all of you for choosing to mark put human rights at the centre of your campaigns.
“As the elections draw near and political campaigns heat up, I want to urge political parties and their candidates to focus on issues and present Nigerians with choices that bothers on what they will do to achieve the basic human rights of citizens. These include but are not limited to gender equality, women empowerment, protection of the most vulnerable in our society like children, youths, older persons and persons living with disabilities.
“Elections are germane in creating an enabling environment for the fulfilment of human rights. It has been recognized by the United Nations that the right to vote and be elected is interwoven with the enjoyment of a plethora of other key human rights which include the right to freedom of association, right to peaceful assembly, right to freedom of movement, right to freedom of information and the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
“Elections should be a time of critical national self-reflection on our commitment to the social contract of democracy and the achievement of human rights.”
He therefore thank their partners for making the event possible, saying “I want to thank all our partners who have made this event possible by their technical, financial and moral support; INEC, NBA, Civil society etc. I want to particularly appreciate the Ford Foundation and the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) for their support to NHRC election project, Mobilising Voters for Election (MOVE).