Article written

  • on 01.04.2011
  • at 03:15 PM
  • by Staff

Nigeria: Can 2011 elections open a new page 0

Its just a matter of hours before the world turns its focus on Nigeria as the country holds its elections. From 2nd to 19th April this Africa most populous nation seeks to send a message to the international community that free and fair elections can be held in Nigeria and a new page without violence can be opened.

Although there will be elections for the National Assembly, governors and state assemblies, this year the  focus will be on the presidential elections which will see more than 15 candidates seeking to become the nation’s 4th executive president.

From the list there is only one female candidate running for the high office. Ebiti Ndok of  the United National Party for Development (UNPD). She was until recently, the only female national chairperson of a political party in the country.

Ndok, who started  working as a nurse and later studied  Management, Law, Diplomatic Studies and Social Welfare has promised integrated programmes in education, healthcare, power, employment creation, and provision of amenities among others.

“Through our programmes, we hope to restore standard education, provide accessible power service,improve infrastructure, create employment. UNPD is ready to work with everybody. We are going to train people who are going to go into political office in the next one year, we will prepare them,” she says

She says if elected, she would increase the minimum wage of workers by slashing the salaries and allowances of Federal legislators, who she says receive more than enough.

With experience driven from her involvement working with Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) she says UNPD as a family-oriented party wants to build families and look after the elderly.

Ndok’s message is not only to the electorates but also to all those aspiring for public office. In an interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf of The Nation daily paper last year, she noted that leaders are in national or senate portfolios because of the people whom they should owe allegiance.

“We want to ensure that after you take elective positions, as our party men and women you should be easily accessible in your office. Where people can bring their complaints and concerns about what is happening in their communities,”she says.

“They don’t have to go through series of checks and security before they can see you. Your people have to have access to you,” she adds.

Ndok’s main threat is the current President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Jonathan has been in office since May, 2010 after succeeding, Umaru Yar’Adua, who died after a long period of illness. To woo the electorate, President Jonathan is promising to reserve 35% of appointments for women, honest and transparent government, electoral reform, steady power supply and energy security.

During his declaration of intent for the 2011 presidential race, which he did on facebook, he said:

“If I am elected President in 2011, I will make a covenant with you the Nigerian people…. to tell you the truth at all times, to carry you along and most importantly to listen to you, fellow citizens in our communities and also those of you on this page” (Facebook).

Promises are made what remains is for the citizens of Nigerian to show the world that in spite of  previous predicaments including social and civil conflicts this oil rich country can have violence free elections. The hope for everyone is not to have a repeat of these incidences, but hope that a new page without post election violence is opened. Maybe even with the first female president.

By Joe M. L. Kaluba– Afronline

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi