As the 2019 general elections draw near, the Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has called on politicians to make realistic and achievable campaign promises.
Speaking to Newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, the Executive Director of CCIDESOR, Obidi Mgbemena harped on the need to document campaign promises as it is a barometer to hold elected officers accountable.
He berated the docility of the electorate who go to bed after the elections without following up with what the politicians promised when they were seeking for votes.
Mgbemena noted that campaign promises not consciously kept by elected representatives and citizens make it difficult for the campaign promises to be met, adding that campaign promises are not supposed to start and end with election rather it is used to gauge the performance of elected representatives, relate with them to ensure they are kept and/or reviewed.
He revealed that CCIDESOR with support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is documenting the campaign promises of candidates across party lines in the five states of Southeast Nigeria, while urging candidates to think about what they are promising as those will be used to hold them accountable in the long run.
He noted that the documentation cuts across campaign promises written on billboards, posters, newspapers, social media, those on the Radio and Television and at various rallies.
“The documentation of election promises help to ascertain level of sincerity of the representative; especially that it enables the electorate keep track of their expectation from the representative. Once election promises are documented, it tests if the representative has gained political capital over the years of the representation, especially when one does what one promises, he submitted.
The Executive Director said, “Since it lies within the province of one to forget given the motley of events besetting one, the documentation of the election promises will remind the elected leaders to cross-check what their promises to the citizens are and how much they have fulfilled them. The representative gains from the repository/catalogue of the election promises documentation”.
He further said that campaign promises are much like cheques in consummation of social contracts subsisting between the electorate and the representatives, which the electorates can cash in at any time in the electorates tenure in office.
He regretted however that the bank of political will to fulfill campaign promises of most politicians are hopelessly bankrupt, but enjoined the electorates not to relent in ensuring that they pressed on to cash in on the promises.
Mgbemena posited that CCIDESOR has been doing a lot towards ensuring that good governance, transparency, citizens’ participation and inclusiveness have their root in the Southeast zone of Nigeria.
He noted that there is no harm in making realistic, tenable and sincere campaign promises.
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