Ahead of the 2019 general elections Actionaid, a non -governmental organisation (NGO) on Monday called for enforceable laws on political parties to enhance the increased participation of women and young people in politics.
Lead Presenter at Actionaid, Jaye Gaskiya made the request at a workshop organised by Actionaid, on “Bench-marking the 2019 Nigerian Electoral Process ;The Journey so Far Through the Lense of the African Charter on Democracy ,Elections and Governance(ACDEG)’’.
Gaskiya said that such enforceable laws were necessary in order to compel political parties to promote political inclusiveness in Nigeria’s democracy.
“There is need to have legally binding instructions that political parties must deliberately practise internal democracy and ensure inclusion of women and youths as candidates.
“We must ensure that when political parties’ candidates list arrives at INEC, before the commission can accept it, it should do a gender analysis.
“The only condition to accept the list which should be part of the nation’s enforceable laws is that no gender representation is less than 40 per cent and no gender is higher than 60 per cent.
“So if INEC can do that, then you will see political parties ensuring that women become candidates and youths become candidates and Nigeria would have an inclusive democracy.’’
Gaskiya said that this step needed to be taken because although Nigeria had the Not-Too-young-To-Run law it did not really empower youths because it was not enforceable.
He said that though the 2019 elections were already around the corner, women and youths could begin to mobilise to make such demands ahead of the 2013 elections using the ACDEG an African charter on democracy.
Secretary General West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) Mr Komlan Messie said that there was need for Nigeria to leverage on the African Charter on Democracy ,Elections and Governance(ACDEG) for free and credible elections.
Messie said that this was because ACDEG was about good governance and democracy and it was a legal framework that would guarantee Nigerians that their votes would count.
He said that only Togo had submitted its initial report on implementation on the continent and urged citizens to ensure the full implementation of ACDEG to strengthen the nation’s electoral process.
Country Director of ActionAid Ms Ene Obi said that in January 2007 African Union adopted ACDEG to find solutions Africa’s governance challenges and to promote consolidated democratic governance and human rights.
Obi, who was represented by Head Human Resource and Organisational Development Actionaid Funmilayo Oyefusi said that in spite of the ratification ,implementation of the charter remained a challenge .
She said it was for this reason that Actionaid Nigeria mobilised citizens to build knowledge around ACDEG to ensure that government kept to its commitment.
“ACDEG is a document that seeks to ensure that the will of the people is respected and given priority in the design of public policy that reflect a more gender responsive public service’’.
She said that it was against this background that Actionaid Nigeria was bench-marking the 2019 Nigerian electoral process to see how it conformed with the provisions of ACDEG.
The programme was a Pan African (PANAF) project to strengthen the role that civil society groups played in the democratic governance processes of all AU states.