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THE WEEKLY COLUMN: ANOTHER DEMOCRACY DAY AND CALL FOR A PEACEFUL AND TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS IN 2023.

By Kennedy Nayina

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I Felicitate with all Nigerians on the occasion of another democracy day. Today we celebrate Freedom over draconian tendencies and excesses. What we are struggling with today is the perfecting of our democratic transition from one government or political party to another. Our transition is akin to full fledged battle. No spirit of sportsmanship.

Former President Obasanjo had the Government of National Unity and I felt it was a beautiful adhesive in our democracy alas it is nowhere to be found again. These are mechanisms that if properly harnessed could ease tension in transitory periods.

‘Big trouble in little China’ is an old movie that comes to mind when I look at this moment. The coveted prize is the seat of government in Aso Rock. Somehow the contestants seem to come from the same fold of old. Atiku, Tinubu and Peter Obi are all avics of identical plumage. At one point or the other they were comrades. The Democratic wind has blown another full cycle and we find them at opposite sides. My worry remains that the heads of Nigerians will knocked together in the impending showdown. Common interests have always proved to be stronger than any other consideration. What else can pitch Tinubu on the opposite side of Atiku and Peter Obi? Dissonance in interests only. As long as the common denominator in their swansongs is the improvements of our Commonwealth and all it’s appurtenances then I can sleep with one eye closed. I used to sleep with my two eyes open.

After Atiku Abubakar became the PDP flagbearer Tinubu congratulated him. It came as no surprise for Atiku to reciprocate his kind gesture in what I will call an acceptance to a democratic duel. Peter Obi on the other hand was disatisfied from the PDP primaries and is now in the Labour Party. Calculations, permutations and schemings are in full swing to capture the minds of the voters. The running mates of the candidates may be the catalyst to Victory. Some names have been projected which have created heated debates in political circles.

From recent political history it has been the North and the West or the North and the South East/ South South if you like. Somehow the numerical strength of any one of the geopolitical structures is not enough to win the presidency on its own.
There are other demographics to look out for. Ethnicity, religion, age, and certainly other interests like living above and below the poverty lines. These factors in isolation or in unison combine to make the voters an undefinable lot. All things being equal you will wonder why a Hausa man would vote for Peter Obi. a
Why an Igbo man would vote for Atiku or why an Ikwere man would vote for Tinubu.

Due to the unpredictability of the voters we cannot safely forecast a Victor without an emperically accepted system of opinion polls.
The Presidents Democracy day speech is reflective of the electoral reforms which the government has invested in. He promised a peaceful and transparent elections which I am praying fervently for. He sounded the fact that on June 12th, 2023. Democracy will be exactly 30 years from the 1993 historic event that heralded the entrenchment of our democracy, at least what we have now.
The assurances he gave on Security and well being of the country was soothing.

Going forward we are committed to playing an active role in the Democratic reforms of the country henceforth, I and my friends will contribute our own quota through AMEF, AMEF stands for All Media Forum.

Media Professionals in AMEF consists of Journalists in the print and electronic media, Government, private or Independent, Public Relations, Writers, Artists, Musicians, Actors and Actresses, Change Agents who use the Mass Media in propagating information to a large heterogeneous audience.

AMEF works through the provision of basic electoral knowledge and Education using various platforms like the Social media, Workshops and Seminars, Online and Physically depending on which one is considered more effective in reaching out to the target audience.
A Handbook known as the AMEF ELECTION HANDBOOK will be circulated across the target areas and target population using the local languages including English as a more permanent form of reference material.

AMEF works mostly in the months preceding elections. Considering the fact that new voters would have matured and registered by reason of coming of age and some that were unable to register due to some reasons will be educated during this period.

AMEF is a Child of necessity to fill the gaps that government, Civil Society Organizations and NGO’s cannot completely cover.
Since “Nature” does not allow a Vacuum AMEF will collaborate and work in partnership with INEC and other key stakeholders to increase Total Electoral knowledge and Awareness amongst the electorate.
Issues of Civic Responsibility, Security Consciousness and Drug Abuse with it’s consequences will also be addressed.

Content of Electoral knowledge/Education Materials
* Basic Elections knowledge.
* Civic Responsibilities.
* Security Consciousness in an election situation.
* Drug Abuse and it’s consequences.

PROGRAMS:
* Workshops in a Train The Trainer (TTT) 2 Step Flow model.
* Online Media presence for Virtual Seminars and News bulletins.

This is an introduction to All Media Forum. Our activities will begin in earnest soon.

In less than a year from now Nigerians will decide who takes the mantle of leadership from President Buhari. The manner in which they do it happens to be more important than who the winner or loser is. Nigeria is bigger than anyone. Irrespective of his or her political leanings.
Let us all use today to remember our fallen heroes and compatriots who sacrificed their lives to get us where we are and to also thank God Almighty for his goodness and benevolence over Nigeria.
Happy Demoracy Day!!!

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