By Chikezie Ogbonna
As Enugu State gear up towards the February 23rd Local Government Elections, YIAGA Africa, a non-profit organization, committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement has engaged political parties in the state to ensure participation of young men and women in politics.
YIAGA’S Program manager, Governance and Development, Ibrahim Faruk, addressing journalists immediately after the town hall meeting held at Residency Hotel, Independence layout Enugu, said the meeting was to create a platform for young candidates and women to engage stakeholders in the electoral process.
He added that YIAGA wanted to create awareness around the local government election, adding that when it comes to local government election, there seem to be a kind of aparty hence the need for sensitization meetings.
He expressed happiness over the healthy level of interest for young men and women to participate in the forthcoming local government election in Enugu regardless of challenges.
Faruk further commended political party leaders for expressing their commitment to support young people and women with their structure and resources in the election.
“This will provide a platform to engage youths, female candidates and the leadership of political parties as critical actors in enabling more young and competent people run for political office, create effective campaigns and win election,” he said.
Earlier, during the town hall meeting some leaders of opposition parties in the state, alleged that staff of Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission, ENSIEC, saddled with the responsibility of conducting the forthcoming local government elections are card carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The chairman of Providence Peoples Congress, PPC, Apostle Newman Chukwuegbo said the allegation that ENSIEC members are PDP Members is a secret one, adding they are no longer hiding it now.
He claimed that the allegation has demoralized the electorate and those with intention to contest for chairmanship and councillorship positions.
“That is why there is low participation because people are saying why should we go and spend our money when we don’t have chances of winning” he stated.
Also speaking, the state chairman of Action Alliance, Ogbonna Festus, disclosed that his party fielded candidates in 8 local governments, but were afraid ENSIEC will not do the right thing as there is an obvious sentimental leaning towards PDP, the ruling party in the state.
However, the Chairman Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC), Dr. Michael Ezeugwu Ajogwu (SAN) represented by one of the commissioners with the electoral body retreated their commitment to organizing a free, fair and credible local government election on 23rd February 2022. He declared their readiness to do the right thing and ensure every vote counts.