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Politics of Tuesday, 17 January 2023


Election: Why some campaign promises are not kept - Ex-Govs Fayemi, Ahmed

Former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi Former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi

A former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has explained why political campaign promises are hard to fulfil in Nigeria.

He attributed the challenges of unmet political promises to unnecessary bureaucracy.

Mr Fayemi spoke on Tuesday at the NPO Reports’ one-day dialogue on campaign promises in Abuja.

“There are times that a candidate genuinely wants to fulfil a promise but for the exigencies of office,” he explained.

Citing an instance of a deplorable federal government road he had promised to repair in Ekiti State when he was in office, Mr Fayemi said the central government’s insistence to rehabilitate its roads by itself prevented him from fulfilling the pledge he made to fix the road after he had secured a loan from the African Development Bank (ADB).

He disagreed with speakers at the event who said elective officeholders do not track campaign promises.

“Tracking campaign promises should happen at the level of government and the citizens,” the ex-governor suggested.

Calling for “synergy and partnership between civil society organisations and the public”, Mr Fayemi urged the electorate to track the manifestoes of political parties to ensure they are fulfilled.

Speaking in a similar vein, former Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, advised Nigerians to scrutinise campaign promises being made by office seekers in the forthcoming elections.

Mr Ahmed asked the electorate to examine candidates for office to know if they possess the capability to deliver on their pledges.

In a welcome address, Semiu Okanlawon, convener of the dialogue and publisher of NPO Reports, an online publication, founded in 2010, said journalists must investigate happenings in society.

“The electorate must take note of promises made by political office seekers, and hold them to account,” Mr Okanlawon, a former assistant editor (politics) of Punch newspapers, advised.

Panelist advocates legal liability for unmet political promises

A panelist at the dialogue, Angela Agoawike, said it was high time politicians were held legally accountable for their campaign promises.

In Nigeria and across the globe, political campaign promises are not justiceable.

Ms Agoawike, founder of Omalicha FM – a radio station in Owerri, Imo State, said her stance was informed by the many unfulfilled promises made by political office seekers to Nigerians.

Other panelists – Azubuike Ishiekwene, Waziri Adio and Hamza Lawal, feasted on a presentation by the event’s guest speaker, Lai Olurode.

Mr Olurode, a professor of sociology and former INEC national commissioner, spoke on the theme: ‘2023 & Beyond: Tracking Campaign Promises for Good Governance.’

Mr Adio, former executive secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), noted that a collaboration between the media, CSOs and citizens “can compel political office seekers to deliver on their campaign promises.”

Mr Ishiekwene, editor-in-chief of the Leadership Newspapers, who chaired the panel session, said journalists have a role to play in the actualisation of campaign promises by holding politicians accountable.

Mr Lawal, chief executive officer, Connected Development, called for accountability journalism at subnational levels to address issues of unmet campaign pledges.

The event was attended by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and some heads of security agencies.

The publisher of PREMIUM TIMES, Dapo Olorunyomi, was represented at the occasion by Bisi Abidoye, an assistant managing editor of the paper.