By: Joy Odor/Kaduna/08/08/2018
The Senior Programme Officer of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Mr. Yusuf Shamsudeen Adio has called on Nigeria to implement and domesticate Africa Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) 7 years after which it was adopted in 2007 and ratified in January 2012.
According to him, by ratifying, it means Nigeria has given consent to it as a valid official document and for which it shall implement and domesticate the Charter but until now nothing has been done to that effect, saying as a matter of fact Nigeria should send in her report a month after the ratification.
This, he said, is because beyond tenure elongation, Africa’s democracy is plagued by weak institutions, leadership problems, poverty, human right abuse, corruption, unemployment, conflict, and other social vices that are antithetical to developmental principles of democracy.
Mr. Adio said acknowledging these challenges and the need to promote democratic principles and good governance in the continent, certain institutions, mechanisms and processes have been put in place since the early 2000.
The CDD Senior Programme Officer who made the call in a paper presentation at the 3-day Media Training workshop on Mobilizing Civil Society Support for Implementation of African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) titled: “ACDEG, AGA: Issues and Perspectives” in Abuja, North Central, Nigeria pointed out that as at March 2017, 45 out of 54 African member states had signed up the ACDEG, of which 29 have ratified it.
He also informed that 8 countries have neither signed nor ratified ACDEG including Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco, Eritrea, Botswana, Zimbabwe, noting that being a State party to the instrument, Nigeria is bond to adhere to its core principles by domesticating the Charter in the country.
Mr. Adio explained that this means national laws should be formulated, if not available, certain action should be taking by the government to promote the Charter in the country.
“The Charter came into force on 16th February 2012, five years after its adoption by the African Union after prolonged and persistent engagement by the AUC’s Department of Political Affairs, the Pan African Parliament, the Special Rapporteur for “Freedom of Expression in Africa, and a lengthy advocacy campaign by civil society organizations, which ultimately pushed it through the ratification threshold” Mr. Adio stressed.
The CDD Senior Programme Officer was of the opinion that to advance political, economic and social development, State Party must commit itself to building capacity of legislators and political parties, reform of justice system, public sector management among other which is why AGA seeks to implement African shared values contained in AU’s Constitutive Act and the ACDEG.
He said the Charter also seeks to promote adherence of each of the State party to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights premised upon the supremacy of the constitution, constitutional order and also plainly seeks to establish a political culture of change, based on the holding of regular, free, fair, and transparent elections conducted by competent, independent, and impartial national electoral bodies.
“AGA was established by a Decision of the AU Assembly of Heads of States in 2011 to provide a platform for dialogue and knowledge sharing between various stakeholders (including government, CSOs, media, etc.) who are mandated to promote good governance and strengthen democracy in Africa.
“The shared values include inter alia human rights and the rule of law, democratic governance, constitutionalism, gender equality, youth empowerment, development, environmental protection, popular participation democratic elections and durable solutions to humanitarian crises.
“On 30 January 2007, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) was adopted by the African Union (AU) during the 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia” Mr. Adio ended.