Civil Society Groups Set To Host Election Debate For FCT National Assembly Candidates

Civil Society Groups Set To Host Election Debate For FCT National Assembly Candidates

By Chinedu Echianu in Abuja    

As the countdown to the 2023 general election continues, Nigeria’s premier/pre-eminent legislative and policy think-tank, OrderPaper Nigeria, and its partners, is set to hold its first-ever Citizens Town Hall and Election Debate for Legislative Candidates.

A Statement made available to Vision FM by the group said the event, which will play host to stakeholders in nation-building, will feature National Assembly Candidates for the two House of Representatives seats and lone Senatorial seat in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that all 18 registered political parties with valid candidates for the legislative polls have been invited for the event.

According to the statement, the town hall debate which is scheduled to hold on Monday, 5th December 2022 at Sandralia Hotel, Jabi, Abuja, presents an opportunity for the mandate seekers to showcase their legislative agenda ahead of the February 25, 2023, elections and answer pertinent questions on a wide range of subjects, especially as relating to the interests of constituents.

OrderPaper is hosting the event in collaboration with civil society partners, including FixPolitics Initiative, Enough is Enough (EiE), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA). It is being implemented as part of the VOTER (Validating the Office of The Electorate on Representation) Project with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project by Palladium.

The organizers describe the event as part of their drive to encourage proper scrutiny of legislative candidates; with the aim of electing productive legislators integral to effective service delivery by government.

They add that Nigeria’s electoral system, as it is currently structured, encourages a bandwagon effect whereby legislative candidates are largely elected based on their alignment with popular executive candidates. This, they say, is not necessarily on their individual merit, thus greatly affecting the quality of representation in our legislature.

Speaking on the event, Oke Epia, Executive Director of OrderPaper, disclosed that the initiative has become imperative given the important decisions for citizens to make in the 2023 elections.

“For us at OrderPaper and our esteemed partners, we believe in the legislature being the foremost of the three branches of Government in a representative democracy. Having also been at the forefront of putting the spotlight on the institution of parliament for nearly ten years now, and (of course) with numerous endorsements, we consider it a call to duty to put this pilot series together for constituents resident in the Nigerian capital,” he said.