From Okwe Obi, Abuja
ActionAid Nigeria has slammed the Federal Government over what it called poor handling of the economy, excessive borrowing, hunger, swelling unemployment rate, endless killings and kidnapping.
The organisation also accused the government of paying lip service to the fight against corruption and the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Convener of ActionAid Nigeria General Assembly, Hassana Yahaya-Bello, at a press briefing and award ceremony held for some retired board members, yesterday, in Abuja, decried the high cost of nomination and expression of interest forms during the primaries by some political parties.
Yahaya-Bello further flayed the outcome of primaries in which only one female emerged as a governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State.
His words: “Following the conduct of primary elections by political parties, we note with concern the unrestricted use of huge sums of money to influence delegates to win nominations for the 2023 General Elections.
“In some cases, unsuccessful aspirants are said to have asked for refunds. This ugly development casts a shadow on Nigeria’s democracy. It means that the next administration is being built on a shaky foundation if nothing is done to change this narrative.
“The outrageous cost of expression of interest and nomination forms by political parties for the primaries amid the debilitating poverty in the country is insensitive and condemnable.
“Moreso, women’s exclusion remains evident in Nigeria’s political landscape; only one female candidate emerged for the governorship position in the Northeast (Adamawa State) under the APC platform.
“No female candidate emerged for governorship position for the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“The current ASUU strike might be the longest in history if urgent steps are not taken. From 1999 when Nigeria transitioned to democracy, to 2022, university teachers have gone on nationwide strikes 16 times, covering 51 months.
“This excludes strikes declared by local branches of ASUU over local disputes, some of them lasting several months. The impact of protracted strikes is not limited to the university system alone. It also affects the entire spectrum of society.
“The Federal Government (FG) should show genuine commitment to improving the quality of education in Nigeria by promptly implementing the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA)
“The unabating insecurity in the country poses a drawback to the progress being made by Nigeria in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.”
She urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to seize the current momentum by citizens to register to vote by extending the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise by at least 60 days to give prospective voters the opportunity to exercise their franchise during the 2023 elections.
She urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on education to rebuild it and ensure that young Nigerians get quality education in public institutions, especially the children of the poor.