2023: CODE mobilises Kaduna polytechnic students against vote buying

Connected Development (CODE), on Tuesday mobilised students of Kaduna Polytechnic to drive political accountability, transparency, and discourage vote buying among Nigerian youths during the 2023 General Elections.

CODE is a “Pan-Africa organisation” with a mission to empower marginalised communities in Africa by providing them with access to information.

CODE’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hamzat Lawal, said during a campus tour of the institution in Kaduna, that the move was to drive youth engagement on key challenges affecting Nigeria.

Lawal, who was represented by the organisation’s Community Engagement Manager, Mr Mukhtar Modibbo, said that the campus tour was in collaboration with Community Life Project (CLP).

He added that the tour was to also mobilise youths to track and monitor constituency projects, including the implementation of Tertiary Education Trust Funds projects and increase their interest in government spending.

He said that the tour was under its Deepening Citizens Interest in Government Spendings and Addressing Accompanying Corrupt Practices (DeSPAAC) projects in Kaduna State, supported by MacArthur Foundation.

“The campus tour also seeks to create awareness on the Open Government Partnership and gender-responsive service delivery, especially in the nomination and implementation of projects.

“The DeSPAAC project aims at increasing the awareness of people at the grassroots on government expenditure in implementing constituency projects in Kaduna State.

He said that CODE also strengthens local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building the capacity of citizens to hold their government and demand improved service delivery.

“Through our initiative ‘Follow the Money (FTM)’, CODE tracks capital project investment in education, health, and water sanitation and hygiene.

“Since inception of the DeSPAAC project, CODE, through the FTM model, has engaged key stakeholders – government and community and built the capacity of young people at the grassroots.

“The project has equipped young people with social accountability and tracking tools to monitor the implementation of constituency projects within their communities,” he said.

The Students’ Union President of the Polytechnic, Abubakar Rabbi, described the campus campaign tour as a “good move” towards sensitising students on the 2023 general election.

Rabbi said that the campaign would help in mobilising the students to push for electoral accountability and ensure that their votes count.

Also speaking, the Zonal Commander, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Mr Harry Erin, warned against voting those that would not represent them well.

During a panel discussion on the roles of youth in combating election corruption, particularly vote buying and reporting channels, Erin urged them to reject money from any politician and vote credible leaders.

On his part, Mr Buhari Bello, Assistant Superintendent, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, said that students have a critical role to play in tracking the delivery of projects and holding office holders to account.

The Dean, Students Affairs, Mr Farouk Musa, who commended CODE for its efforts, urged the students and Nigerian youth to make their votes count and demand for good governance.

Similarly, Mr John Usman of the polytechnic Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit, advised the youth against voter apathy and encouraged them to come out en masse to vote for credible leaders.

Ms Zaliha Lawal, Programme Manager, CODE, who moderated the panel, stressed the need for students and youth in general to utilise their social media handles to report electoral corruption and other corrupt practices.

Lawal said that students must learn to hold duty bearers accountable by asking critical questions in governance and delivery of projects for quality service delivery. (NAN)

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