By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
If the middle class in Nigeria go beyond criticism on the social media and educate those at the grassroots on the right candidates to vote, NIgeria would fare better.
Coalition of Associations for Leadership,, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED)’s Yusuf Goje expressed this in his presentation, titled, “Building the Critical Mass for Issues-Based Campaigns in the 2023 Elections” at a Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL) in Collaboration CALPED, One-Day Session with Accountability Mechanism Including Media to Synthesize Issues on Health and Education. held in Kaduna on Monday May 9, 2022.
Explaining, he said that out of over 80 million registered voters, only 27m came out to vote in 2019, with the present president voted by 17m, out of the total number of registered voters, which means, the minority in terms of registered voters produced the winner.
He said the people at the grassroots do most of the voting, with the middle class shunning voting, but doing more criticism on the social media.
“It is important that the critical mass should come from the middle class who are educated and exposed.
“Only way we can pull ourselves from a cliff is building a critical mass ahead of 2023 election,” he stressed.
On why building a critical mass important, he said that Section 14:2a of NIgeria’s Constitution states, “sovereignty belongs to the people”, while 14:2b states, ” security and welfare of the people” and Section 14:2c says, ” participation of the people is guaranteed.” Which places power on the people.
He explained that the political Leaders are servants and as such, should be held accountable.
“If you send your servant to the market to get foodstuff and instead of buying what he or she was sent for, goes and purchases ice cream and comes back. As the master, would you demand to partake in the ice cream or demand what was on the list?
“Those elected are servants of the citizens and should be held accountable. If they fail to keep to promises made during electioneering, they should be held accountable,” he said.
Speaking further, he explained that, “The people have a role to play, if you build a critical mass and the people know the power they possess, they will produce better leaders.
“Unfortunately, it has been so monetized that money plays role on who emerges.
“There is constitutional backing that we are the ones giving them powers and should hold them accountable,” he added.
Goje said that the relationship between the citizens and government, is like demand and supply.
“When you don’t go out to vote, you get lack lustre leadership,” he added.
On who are the critical mass are, he mentioned, community leaders, community development associations, political actors, media, civil society organisations and professional groups.
Speaking further, he said that the critical mass can do a lot like media engagement, mass mobilization and education, advocacy campaigns and ensuring social contract is entered into by those seeking votes.
“To build a critical mass, there must be level of synergy and collaboration. You put your knowledge together, that the political class will come and dialogue with you and you make your demands, that you can use in holding them accountable,” he added..