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Advocates for Good Citizenship and Peace (AGCP), has urged the Ebonyi electorate to jettison political party considerations in favour of credibility and pedigree of candidates contesting in the forthcoming general elections.
Advocates for Good Citizenship and Peace is an arm of Somadaz foundation, a non governmental organisation (NGO).
The group made the call at a press conference on Tuesday in Abakaliki.
In a speech delivered by Chief Kelechi Mbam, its national coordinator, the group said it is committed to the enthronement of good governance and is therefore leading a campaign aimed at sensitising the voting public on how to exercise their franchise wisely.
The group said that placing political parties above individuals’ pedigree and credibility in elections is becoming worrisome and overwhelming in the voting pattern in Nigeria.
“It is on this backdrop that we have decided to launch a campaign for candidate-based voting, tagged, ‘Na person; no be party’, to drum up awareness”
“The issue of placing political parties above individual pedigree is becoming overwhelming in our voting pattern; this canker worm, if unchecked, is capable of continuous enthronement of bad leaders in our polity.
“A situation where a credible candidate fails in an election because he contested under a perceived smaller party has continued to deal with us negatively.
“While on the other hand, where an uncredible candidate emerges from a major political party, there is no barrier for such a candidate to enjoy maximum support of his or her people.
“The campaign is designed to target the electorate both in urban and rural areas across Ebonyi in particular and Nigeria in general.
“And most importantly, to alert various political parties on the need to consider credibility, acceptability and marketability as a sine qua non to nomination of candidates for various elective positions,” the group said.
The organisation stressed that the advocacy and sensitisation campaign it embarked upon is a long-term project that requires continuous efforts greased by unity of purpose of its promoters.
“Our organisation is committed to ensuring that the legacies and aspirations of our founding fathers shall not be in vain.
“We have articulated and compressed our advocacy, sensitisation and enlightenment programmes into; press conferences, 1-to-1-to millions reach out, radio live programmes, reflection on candidates, sign a pact, online public voting and publication of results.
“Others include; state the reason, research and public verdict among others,” said the organization.
It explained that the advocacy campaign has become necessary because political parties of today have abandoned the art of presentation, promotion and implementation of party manifestos.
“The ideal practice is that candidates of political parties anchor on their party manifestos while canvassing for votes and to derive their administrative policy from the party manifesto.
“Unfortunately, and most regrettably, what is obtainable today is individual aspirants or candidates presenting their own manifestoes.
“The logic therefore is, since parties no longer pursue party manifestos, it is no longer necessary for voters to consider political parties in their choice of vote.
“Rather, they should look at the persons one after the other and vote them according to their individual pedigree and manifesto, irrespective of party leaning,” the group said.
The group also canvassed for the inclusion of independent candidates in next constitutional amendment or alteration to allow individuals run elections without using political parties as platforms.