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CSO Launches ‘Buharimeter’

A Civil Society Group Lunches Its Barometer To Guage Fulfilment Of President Muhammadu Buhari And All Progressives Congress’ Campaign Promises

Raphael Ekpang, Abuja

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), through the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has launched ‘Buharimeter’ an initiative to keep track of the fulfilment of the campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In keeping track of the campaign promises, CDD said the action would promote unity, transparency, accountability, economic growth, development, equality, equitable distribution of resources as well as national development. According to CDD, Buharimeter is an important tool conceptualized toward the challenges of governance, civic participation and effective service delivery in Nigeria.

It is also a platform to ensure that the dividends of democracy are delivered to Nigerians, who voted overwhelmingly for “change” during the 2015 general elections, in accordance with the promises made to them by the president. Speaking at the launch of Buharimeter. ng yesterday in Abuja, Idayat Hassan, the director of CDD, said that, the broad-based engagement of citizens in decision-making and implementation processes are fundamental to deepening democratic culture in the country.

She noted that, having engaged with democracy work in Nigeria for 16 years, three challenges come to mind for immediate address. These she listed as the inability of the government to be accountable to the citizens; the inability of citizens to hold elected officials accountable; under what platform can government be held accountable? “In the run up to the Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections, 15 political parties that contested for the presidential seat made a monumental shift towards engaging in issue-based campaign in an effort to get the support of the electorates, the political parties and their candidates made lots of promises to address age-long development challenges confronting the country. “They also reeled out their policy preferences during political campaigns and town hall meetings held across the country.

It is upon promises made, amongst other factors that APC and its candidate emerged winner of the Presidential election and was sworn in on Friday, May 29, 2015. “However, history of Nigeria’s democracy has shown that holding elected officials accountable to their promise has been an elusive venture. Absence of a veritable tool that would empower citizens to measure their performance and prevent them from reneging on their promises is key.

“This is why Nigeria is experiencing poverty, economic decline, infrastructural decay, corruption, weak institutional capacity, lack of political will amongst others”, she said. Hassan added that: “CDD has so far tracked, and is set to monitor 174 promises made by All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, party manifesto and policy documents cutting across different sectors/issues of national development including women, youth, persons with disability, agriculture, corruption, security, power, oil and gas, health, education, transport, good governance, including My Vision for Nigerians and 100 days Covenant.

“The performance of the government will be measured using three interrelated approaches. First, through different web-based applications in which the general public will have the opportunity to make contributions to discussions, comment on policy pronouncements of the government in achieving its set targets, participate in periodic surveys, and suggest priority areas that require urgent attention.

“Second, through rigorous policy and media monitoring exercise; policy statements will be tracked, analyses and used as a basis for gauging the performance of the government. This will be complemented by the third approach which is spot-checks of projects and programmes being implemented by the government.

“CDD believes that the more elected officials are accountable to the electorate, the more they are driven to give quality service. Accountability in governance creates mutual exchange of responsibilities between the citizens and government, and enhances the quality of democracy”, Hassan disclosed.

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