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Factual Reportage

By Emma Okereh

As Nigerians celebrate the 2024 democracy Day which also coincides with the 25 years of unbroken civil rule in the country, the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr. Tony Ojukwu, has called on Nigerians to renew their commitment in strengthening democracy in Nigeria.

Dr. Ojukwu made this call in his statement commemorating the 2024 Democracy Day

He also commended the resilience of Nigerians in their quest for democratic governance which according to him, manifested in the repeated elections that have taken place since the return of democracy in 1999.

The executive secretary however decried the challenges which seem to threaten the effective democratic processes in the country such as elections marred by violence, ballot box snatching, killings, vote buying, intimidation of electorates, hate-speech and non/irregular elections into the local government council by State governments.

While assuring Nigerians of the Commission’s continuous interventions in strengthening the democratic process, he called on relevant stakeholders to join hands in doing all that is required, before, during and after elections in order to further deepen democracy in Nigeria.

“As a Commission, we shall continue to play our role in monitoring democracy in Nigeria and also safeguarding the rights of eligible Nigerians to freely participate in democratic processes. I therefore urge you all to show similar enthusiasm” the learned silk stated.

It is worthy of mention that the Commission in line with its mandate, monitors all elections for the purpose of ensuring that they conform to human rights standards.

The Commission has in similar vein, carried out a project known as Mobilizing Voters for Elections (MOVE) with the goal of sensitizing the masses on the need to exercise freely their franchise especially as it relates to right to vote and be voted for as well as being involved in all electioneering processes.
Of significant interest is the Commission’s collaboration with relevant Civil Society Organizations in co-sponsoring a bill seeking enhanced participation of women in politics, elections and governance. Though the bill was thrown out by the 9th National Assembly, the Commission is still strategizing with stakeholders to represent the same bill to the current National Assembly, hoping that the Law Makers will see reason to pass this important bill without seeing Affirmative Action to prop up women as a discrimination against the men.

A statement by the director , public affairs and external linkages, Obinna Nwakonye further explained that Ojukwu called on Nigerians to exercise restraint, patience, remain focused and committed to support democracy in the country despite the obvious economic challenges currently bedeviling the nation.
“With democracy and good governance, the enjoyment of Human Rights is assured. But without democracy, human rights will be a victim. Human rights thrives in a democratic melieu not in a conflict stricken nation or military governance or anarchy or undemocratic environment”, he stated.

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