By Akanimo Sampson
The Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a good governance concern, has exposed the two leading governorship candidates in Edo State.
Though there are 14 candidates running for this Saturday’s elections, PLAC says the two candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been the most vociferous in stoking the fires and threats of violence.
This is coming as the group has also taken on the National Assembly on the Review of the 1999 Constitution. Both chambers of the bicameral Legislature have since constituted Ad-hoc Committees for the review of the constitution.
PLAC is arguing on its website that efforts by the National Assembly to further alter the constitution are coming against a backdrop of agitations for a total overhaul of the current Nigerian Constitution.
‘’It is unclear how quickly the National Assembly could conclude deliberations and the process of Constitution amendment’’, the group adds.
The Senate Ad-hoc Committee has since proceeded to call for submission of memoranda on Constitution review proposals from the public and has further extended the deadline for submission from September 11 to September 25.
According to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is the Committee Chairman, the extension is in response to appeals from stakeholders across the country.
Omo-Agege has also expressed the committee’s commitment to recommend all Constitution Alteration bills that come before it for consideration in the Senate, where the lawmakers will determine which proposals will be forwarded to State Houses of Assembly.
Speaking at a television interview, he also clarified that members of the Committee are not under pressure from external forces regarding the Constitution review exercise.
Several pan ethnic groups in the country, civil society organisations and opinion leaders have stated their objections to several existing provisions of the Constitution including provisions that contradict what should be a truly federal system of government.
Already, the resumption of the National Assembly initially slated for September 15 has been postponed for two more weeks. The lawmakers are now to resume from their annual recess on Tuesday, September 29.
PLAC, founded in 2009, is however an independent, non-partisan, non-profit capacity building organisation that works to strengthen democratic governance and citizens’ participation in Nigeria.
Through broad-based technical assistance and training, PLAC works to promote citizens’ engagement with government institutions and to advocate for legal and policy reforms and promote transparency and accountability in policy and decision-making processes.
At the core of its programming is a deep commitment to increase legislative advocacy, promote transparency and good governance, support and promote electoral reforms, enhance citizen’s access to public policies and advance anti-corruption campaigns.
PLAC has worked and evolved into a foremost and leading institution with capacity to deliver cutting-edge research, policy analysis and advocacy.
In the mean time, Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu on Sunday, September 13 had a faced-off in a governorship debate in Benin city, the Edo capital.
The debate supported by PLAC and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room provided the opportunity for both candidates to speak to the people of Edo on why they should be elected to the office of Governor.
It was one of the rare moments that issue campaign crept into what has been strong rhetorics and threats of violence in the run up to the September 19 governorship election.
The candidates have however gone on to sign a Peace Accord initiated by the National Peace Committee in a Peace ceremony in Benin City on Tuesday, September 15. In all, 14 candidates are contesting the election on Saturday.
These candidates publicly signed the Peace Accord. The National Peace Committee has former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, as Chairman, while Bishop Matthew Kukar’s Centre hosts the secretariat of the committee.