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Vote politicians with national interest, CSO urges Nigerians

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Connected Development (CODE), has urged Nigerians to vote for politicians with national interest and capacity to solve the socio-economic, political…

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Connected Development (CODE), has urged Nigerians to vote for politicians with national interest and capacity to solve the socio-economic, political and multi-sectoral challenges facing the country.

The founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CODE, Mr Hamzat Lawal, made the call at the weekend during a media parley in Abuja.

The parley was part of activities for the organisation to showcase its intervention tools deployed to ensure free and fair elections in Nigeria and Kenya, as well as its security sector early warning system and citizens’ engagement strategies.

He said, “There are fears that Nigeria may not get the best in the 2023 elections, but we are confident that the elections would hold as scheduled. The people should prioritise national interest in their choice.

“Our approach is to improve intelligence gathering during elections by providing real-time reports using technology.”

He said that the organisation is concerned about the coming national elections in Kenya and Nigeria and is working to ensure free, fair and credible elections in both countries.

He said, “CODE has deployed international delegates to observe the upcoming Kenyan 2022 elections. CODE in partnership with Ushahidi, a Kenyan-originated open-source software application which utilises user-generated reports to collate and map data, developed a technology-driven election monitoring platform known as Uzabe.

“Uzabe, a real-time intelligence and mapping tool, enables situation and eyewitness reports from various polling units in real-time. With this tool, CODE aims to strengthen emergency response during elections that mitigate electoral violence and uphold the integrity of elections in Africa.

“We will deploy 20,000 observers in upcoming Nigeria’s 2023 general election who will leverage the Uzabe technology to monitor and observe elections,” Lawal said.

He said that CODE successfully observed elections back in 2013 in Kenya, Nigeria’s 2015 and 2019 general elections, USA 2016 Presidential election, and will deploy observers in the 2023 general elections seeking to, again, ensure a peaceful electoral process, promote national reconciliation and improve quality of elections using Uzabe.

He also said that the organisation is working to produce monthly security dossiers (MSDs) that will help law enforcement agencies address insecurity challenges in the country.

Lawal said that this was necessitated due to the rise in insecurity in the nation which is a concern for citizens and that the MSDs, will also serve as security advisory for policymakers and security agencies.

He lamented that Nigeria is among the countries with the highest number of terror-related deaths and that randomly, bandits attack communities inflicting heavy human casualties; rustling cattle; destroying properties and social installations.

“Despite this, no one has been punished as a result of these deaths in order to shape public behaviour. We believe that our first edition would help inspire the needed conversation and action and so far, we have recorded that 3120 Nigerians were victims of security breakdown across the nation,” Lawal said.

Also, the Director, Democracy and Governance of CODE, Njoku Emmanuel, said that the Kenyan election is important to Nigeria, especially that the lessons of the election can in some ways be beneficial to Nigeria.

Njoku, who is also the CODE Head of Election mission to Kenya, said that despite the lower number of population and constituents in Kenya, the ethnic diversity is as much as Nigeria’s thus the success of the election is in the interest of Nigeria and the world.