By Philip Yatai

Some Citizen groups in Kaduna State on Wednesday asked political party candidates in the 2022 General Elections to prioritise social protection as a tool to end the multidimensional poverty, if elected.

The groups made the demand in Kaduna, at a one-day public dialogue with political party candidates on agenda setting for the 2023 General Elections, organised by Partnership for Issues-Based Campaign in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the dialogue was organised in collaboration with Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a governance programme.

Mr Danjuma Dangwa-Abbas, Chairman, Evidence Technical Working Groups, Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), presented the demands on behalf of citizens groups.

He identified the groups as women groups, market women, persons living with disabilities, health, education, and social protection accountability mechanisms, among others.

He called on the party candidates to ensure full implementation of the shock responsive and inclusive Social Protection Policy, designed to ensure that residents of the state lived a life of dignity.

He urged the candidates to invest in strengthening social protection systems and ensure timely release of allocated funds in the efforts to reduce multidimensional poverty affecting households in the state.

On other socio-economic and political issues, Dangwa-Abbas urged the candidate to consider providing more opportunities for women in decision making positions if elected to office.

“Women aspirants should be supported to contest and occupy at least 35 per cent elective position in governance and commit to reducing unemployment, especially among women by at least five per cent.

“We also want the review of economic policies to promote the wellbeing and security of women, girls and persons living with disabilities

“The candidates should also consider increasing and improving the number of skills acquisition centres in each of the Senatorial Districts to empower women and youth with functional skills for self-reliance,” he said.

Earlier, State Lead Facilitator, PERL, Mr Abel Adejor, explained that the event was to reflect on the lessons from the outcome of the party primaries with focus on issue-based campaigns.

Adejor added that it was also to brainstorm on strategies and plans of candidates to engage in issue-based campaigns and not money-based campaigns for the interest of all the people and not a few individuals.

He also said the event was to engage the political party candidates on the agenda set by civil society and citizens to improve the quality of representation in political offices.

Also, Mr Yusuf Goje of the Partnership for Issues-Based Campaign in Nigeria, said that the dialogue provided a platform for party candidates and citizens to consider issues that would improve the life of the people.

Goje said that issue-based campaigns were  designed to ensure full participation of eligible voters in the electoral process so that the majority of the electorate would elect leaders to address their issues.

Mr Nuhu Shadalafiya, representing Kagarko  constituency in the State Assembly, noted that issue-based campaign was the way to go in ensuring that elected politicians were held accountable to their promises.

“This will ensure that candidates engage the electorate with well-articulated issues to gain their trust, to deliver socio-economic dividends for the growth and development of the people,” he said.

Also, Mrs Florence Aya, President, Women Mentoring and Leadership Initiative (WOMFOI), said the move was necessary for the electorate to assess the programmes of each candidate.

This, according to her, will enable the electorate to elect the right leaders based on his commitments to address their peculiar issues.

NAN reports that some of the politicians at the event included Mr Yusuf Salisu, member representing Kawo constituency in the State Assembly, and re-contesting for the seat under the PDP.

Others are Mrs Comfort Anwe, representing Sanga constituency, also standing for re-election under the PDP and APC’s Nuhu Shadalafiya, from Kagarko constituency. (NAN)