Over 450 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have endorsed the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, for this weekend’s presidential election. The endorsement took place at the NICON Luxury Hotel in Abuja on Tuesday.
The CSOs said Atiku have the experience, vision, focus and the leadership qualities to redirect the ship of Nigeria if elected president on Saturday.
The Convener of the event and Assistant Director, CSOs PDP- Presidential Campaign Council (PDP-PCC), Honourable Kunle Yusuff, said the CSOs decided to endorse Atiku based on his manifesto which align with their own development agenda. He said the endorsement could not have come at a better time few days to the presidential election with a group that boast of more than 5 million people in its workforce.
“CSOs have different roles, in education, in environment and others. In Nigeria today, we have over 40,000 CSOs registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). All of them are performing different responsibilities with over 5 million workforce. If you now have a cluster of civil societies that are ready to endorse you as their president, you know that is a very good positive development. This is the same hall where in 2011 the CSOs endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan coordinated by the late Oronto Douglas and again in 2015 when they refused and we all knew what happened in 2015 when General Muhammadu Buhari became the president. Today we are happy that in the same hall few days to election, the civil societies have agreed to accept to partner with the development agenda of Atiku Abubakar’s manifesto.
“We all know what is happening in Nigeria. We know where we are. We need a president that will take us from this point to another point. We need a president that knows what development is all about and a president that will be accepted globally and that is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. In his manifesto, he has taken properly the issue of social inclusion, youth development, the IDPs and most critically the issue of climate change.
“Civil Society is a very key sector in Nigeria most especially at this time. They will be playing their constitutional role on Saturday by observation. Some of them will be doing that by monitoring. I’m from them, they are my colleagues. They have called themselves together and they said they want to work with Atiku Abubakar having studied and scrutinized his manifesto. They said his manifesto aligned with the development agenda and because they are also development agents, they have accepted, agreed and ready to work with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. And they are ready to work with him based on development purposes,” Yusuff said.
In their submissions, a former presidential aide to President Goodluck Jonathan on Youth and Student Affairs and a former Minister of State, Power and Niger Delta Affairs Jude Imagwe and Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi respectively called for active citizen participation and engagement in electoral process saying the onus of a great Nigeria lies on the shoulder of young people to elect credible people as their leaders.
They said the role of CSOs in a democracy cannot be overemphasised adding that the absence of a virile civil societies can only result in executive rascality and legislative weakness.