By Prisca Sam-Duru

It was for the love and survival of Nigeria that Citizens Intervention and Accountability Network, CIAN, released its empowerment resource materials to get Nigerians prepared ahead of the 2023 general elections.

One of the resource materials is a National Civic Project, titled: Nigeria’s Next President, a book recently presented to the general public in Abuja. The book, according to CIAN, was produced to cause a paradigm shift in the direction of Nigerian voting public by fostering civic eternal vigilance, inspiring civic responsibilities and stirring civic activism that challenges conventions as well as demand accountability from elected officials.

The organisation is of the view that the best way to achieve the desired participatory change in the polity is for Nigerians to see themselves first as critical partners in reordering the faulty leadership recruitment process; and not just as spectators, or passive partners, but as active compatriots who will be conscious of their votes, and the inherent power that lies in them.

In a keynote address presented during the book presentation, CIAN’s Director of  Information and Strategy, Dr. Candyfidel Onwura Okoye, said: “Europe and other continents of the world we love to make reference to, or enviably talk about and currently rushing to migrate to, did not emerge on mere hope and passivity, but on visionary and constant struggles, with people standing up to fight for their rights,” adding that the Nigerian electorate must assume responsibilities in their quest for good governance by transforming to be the change they want to see.

He said: “For too long, we have yearned for a better tomorrow, better country and mourned a better yesterday, hoping that one day things will change and get better. But rather, we are being confronted with new woes that demand Nigerians in their collective effort to rise up and do something. Enough of compromising the voting power for ephemeral economic gains popularly called stomach infrastructure. “Nigerians must believe in themselves, believe in their sovereign voting power, and trust the electoral process. We must not continue to cast aspersion on the electoral process, and with the negative mindset that election will be rigged and greeted with malpractice.”

Dr. Candyfidel further implored the whole populace to come out en-mass to vote and defend their votes, noting that elections have consequences. “As the saying goes, when evil reigns in a nation, it means that men of honour and good conscience have not spoken. For as long as the citizens and the civil society are docile, dubious and desperate politician’s codenamed mandate stealers, will continue to have a field day.”

He however indicated that, the empowerment resource materials are not intended to criticize any political party, politician, past or present leadership, but to reveal and draw attention to the basis for voting, issues to look out for, and the expectations of ‘Nigerians from a potential “Nigeria Next President”.

The Father of the Day, former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife described the book, ’Nigeria’s next President’ as timely, because Nigeria’s president is the hottest issue in Nigeria today.

According to him, “The problem we have is that God loves Nigeria greatly but man is messing up the country. We must pray for God to intervene in the affairs of Nigeria for the country to brace up. Politicians have lost conscience. I am one of the politicians, they have no place for fairness, no place for justice, no place for equity and you know with that kind of a thing you cannot have a good country.

“The manifest destiny of Nigeria is to develop into a super power and raise the respect and dignity of all blacks on earth and our children are beginning to do that.”

In her words, CIAN’s Asst. Director, Information & Strategy, Rev. Anthonia Omonze, stated that “The focus of today’s National Civic Project, is to inform Nigerians about our resolve and intervention, to lend a helping hand, and be a part of the solution to addressing the impending voters’ apathy, and political abstention ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections”.

She hinted that it was for greater impact and wider reach, that “the empowerment resource material will take a two-pronged approach; its translation into 5 different local languages, namely Efik, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, and Pidgin English, in order to galvanize the unlettered people who, constitute majority of the voting public; and its conversion into audio format of 5 indigenous local languages to spur the interest of those who have dominant inclination toward listening than reading among the unschooled”.

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of cash award to student advocates shortlisted from a Presidential Advocacy Essay, organized for all secondary schools in Nigeria. The first, second and third positions received N1million, N700,000, and N500,000 respectively.  

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