Are Nigerian Candidates Focusing on the Tough Issues ?
- From: "weagle" <weagle@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 18 Mar 2007 13:34:56 -0700
Are Nigerian Candidates Focusing on Tough Issues?
By Chinedu Offor - VOA
14 March 2007
The Nigerian election is now just a few weeks away. As it approaches,
several analysts are saying the campaigns have not been driven by real
issues, such as how to improve living conditions. They say these
concerns have been overshadowed by controversies over attempts by
electoral authorities to ban some candidates and the face-off between
President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, Atiku Abubakar. The
critics say instead, the candidates should be focusing on the
deepening poverty in the country and the potentially explosive
situation in the Niger Delta.
Innocent Chukwuma is the chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group,
a coalition of 250 civil society organizations. He told VOA English to
Africa Service reporter Chinedu Offor that the lack of robust
discussion on serious issues is the hallmark of Nigerian politics. "I
am not surprised, because in the electoral history of Nigeria,
especially since the Second Republic, politicians dwell more on
personalities than issues. Incidentally," he says, "the people of
Nigeria are concerned with policies and programs that the parties will
implement to uplift their livelihood, but they appear not to be paying
attention to the issues."
Chukwuma says most political parties have not been on the scene long
enough to articulate a viable social program. "You hardly have a party
in Nigeria whose history dates beyond four or five years preceding the
election; and in the absence of a strong party base, which should be
the galvanizer of policies and issues the candidates will implement
once elected, they are left to focus more on their personalities.
Chukwuma says rather than personal attacks, there are various issues
waiting to be tackled. "There should be discussion about basic stuff
about uplifting the livelihood of people through the provision of
amenities like roads, pipe-borne water, creation of jobs, and poverty
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