I Ahead of the February 2023 general elections, the National Human Rights Commission said it would be organising a town hall for gubernatorial candidates in 18 states of the federation beginning from 1st to 3rd February 2023.
A statement on Tuesday by the NHRC, Fatimah Mohammed said the Commission will be organising the town hall in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations, United Nations System in Nigeria and the Media, noting that this is “targeted at making human rights issues part of the election discussion, improving citizens’ participation in the general elections, deepening our democracy and the overall safety of citizens before, during after the elections.”
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu OFR, while making the disclosure in Abuja stated that the town hall will provide an opportunity for governorship candidates of all the political parties in the country to highlight their plans and views on key issues of promotion and protection of human rights of citizens in their respective states.
According to Ojukwu, since the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of citizens, it is important to engage governorship candidates to clearly state what they have to offer to the people, particularly their plan on human rights protection. It is important to extract commitments from these candidates to close the widening gap in healthcare services, education, food security, potable water, sanitation, electricity, good road networks, brutality and impunity, civil protests and most importantly, the shrinking of civic spaceetc.
The NHRC boss said that the effort is a part of the larger project, Mobilising Voters for Election (MOVE) designed to improve the overall electoral process in the country.
It would be recalled that a similar event was held for presidential candidates on December, 10, 2022 and each candidate at the town hall spoke on how he will fulfil and promote human rights in the country.
The Commission’s helmsman noted that as elections draw near, political parties and their candidates should focus their campaign on human rights issues and not hate speeches, while presenting their manifestoes to Nigerians. “This will further serve as a self-assessment of the commitment to social contract of democracy”, the Executive Secretary added.
The town hall is scheduled to take place in the following States: Akwa Ibom, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Niger, Delta, Rivers, Nassarawa, Plateau, Adamawa, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kaduna, Cross River, Kano, Kwara and Bauchi.
The timing is right. This will help to extract commitment from the Gubernatorial Candidates and raise awareness on human rights promotion and protection.