Betty Earland, Bauchi
Gubernatorial candidates of political parties in Bauchi State have been charged to focus their campaigns on strategies to protect and fulfill the human rights of the Nigerian people, ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
This was disclosed by the National Executive Secretary of the commission Chief Tony Ojukwu in his opening statement at the Town hall meeting organised by the which held at Development Exchange Centre (DEC) Bauchi.
He said the election should be a time of critical self-reflection in commitment to the social contract of democracy and achievement of human rights.
He explained that the Commission has the mandate to protect and promote the human rights of every person in Nigeria in line with the human rights provided under the constitution.
Ojukwu who was represented by the Senior Human Rights Adviser to the commission Hillary Ogbonnah, stated that the Town Hall ” is a non-partisan one and there will be no endorsement of any candidate or evaluation of performance. The Commission and our partners are using this platform to develop a value system that places human rights as a key element in our electoral process and democracy.”
“Free and fair elections are key tenets of a democratic system of governance. The right to participate in the governance process, including voting and standing for election, is central to a democracy. Elections are germane in creating an enabling environment for the fulfilment of human rights.
Ojukwu added that the commission and United Nations System as gatekeepers of human rights have decided to the human rights message to political parties and candidates contesting the Presidential and gubernatorial elections as the future leaders to discuss the place of human rights in a democracy and as a common standard of political commitment which every leader should sign onto.
He said Bauchi State is part of the 18 states the commission is holding the town hall for the guber candidates, noting that the event was a non-partisan one and there would be no endorsement of any candidate or evaluation of performance, but to develop a value system that places human rights as a key element in electoral process and democracy, hoping that the candidates would focus their campaigns on strategies to protect and fulfill the human rights.
Gubernatorial candidates present at the event were of People Redemption Party (PRP) Barrister Umar Faruk Ahmed and Amb. Khalid Arewa of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
Gubernatorial candidates of the African Action Congress (AAC) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) were represented by their state party Chairmen Umar Abubakar and Hon. Hassan Haruna respectively.
On the other hand, the incumbent governor and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, and All Progressives Congress APC candidate, Air Marshall Sadique Baba Abubakar Rtd, were absent from the Town Hall.