The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) says politicians should spreading fake news and playing ethnic and religious politics as Nigeria prepares for the 2023 elections.
Idayat Hassan, director of CDD, spoke on Sunday to commemorate the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by MKO Abiola and annulled by the military government.
Hassan said it was important for politicians to prioritise building a better Nigeria rather than cause disruption, adding that any attempt should be countered.
According to her, a credible, free and fair election is as critical as democracy and politicians and all their supporters must prioritise the interest of the nation instead of fuelling disunity as the country is already at a crossroads.
“We appreciate the efforts being made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so far. No Nigerian must be disenfranchised. We want the vote of Nigerians to also count. Politicians must understand the plight of Nigerians and desist from any action that will lead to disunity,” Hassan said.
“We, therefore, urge politicians to focus on the issue-based campaign and desist from disinformation or fake news. It is also important that politicians desist from using religion and ethnicity to further divide the country. The level of division we have seen is enough. It is time for us to unite.”
Speaking further, Hassan said there was an urgent need to revive the gloomy state of the economy from total collapse and tackle the root causes of insecurity.
She also said Buhari’s seven years in office could have been better if promises made before resumption had been kept.
The director, however, said there have been records in the fight against corruption but a lot more could be done — especially in the areas of blocking leakages and involving the whole of society.
She said unless the country wins against corruption, widening inequality, poverty, lack of development, unemployment, marginalisation and insecurity may persist.
“We need to adopt a whole of society approach and block leakages. It is not time for the president to go to bed. The next one year is very critical. In fighting corruption, we need a shift from a sanction long-term approach that will focus on blocking leakages,” she added.
“This democracy day should remind the president and anybody vying for political office that Nigerians deserve a better country. I am afraid the country will not move forward if we fail to deal with our challenges. It is now more urgent than ever before.”
She urged Nigerians to play a strategic role in supporting the country, adding that it should not be about citizens’ rights alone but their duties towards a better country.
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