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Social justice critical to electoral process – CODE

Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja

As Nigerians await results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, it is important that we do not lose focus of social justice and fairness at all level. Social justice and fairness is undoubtedly the hallmark of good governance, thus the call for the creation of quality jobs, better job opportunities leading to better incomes and an improved standard of living for the average person.  In addressing social justice in this context, Connected Development’s (CODE), ‘Follow The Money initiative’ is empowering rural communities with data and accessible technology to track government spending on education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, so rural dwellers can hold governments at national and sub-national levels accountable, ensuring improved service delivery. Good governance allows for the creation of quality jobs, better job opportunities, leading to better incomes and an improved standard of living of the average person. It also allows for a system where children have the opportunity to receive basic education. The ripple effect is evident in more unified and equitable societies that are important to preventing violence and conflicts. In a chat with Daily Times, the Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, said that as votes are being collated across the nation, Nigerians should take the time to reflect and also renew the zeal to hold government accountable and demand that they do better to ensure social welfare for the average Nigerian. “As votes are being collated across the nation, this is a moment of reflection, but also a renewed fire in our hearts, as we begin to assess the need to hold government accountable, demanding that they do better in ensuring social welfare of the average Nigerian. Young people, especially, must recognise that they are the key to future elections and the antidote to whatever fear, hatred and intolerance may lie ahead. “The aspiration for social justice, through which every working man and woman can claim freely and on the basis of equality of opportunity, their fair share of the wealth which they have helped to generate, is quite strong in recent times. “CODE is convinced that no lasting peace is assured without an egalitarian system and will keep working with partners to support and promote social justice, one community at a time.” Speaking further, he noted that the declaration of fairness at work by the International Labour Organisation addresses fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue and fundamental principles and rights at work. Lawal explained that fairness at work is about obtaining freedom, equity, security and human dignity in conditions of work, adding that it stands against inequality and discrimination—allowing for a work environment that thrives on productivity, having a voice in the workplace and the community. “In Nigeria today, there is a huge deficit expressed in the absence of employment opportunities, denial of fairness at work and inadequate social protection. Many Nigerians are appalled by the Country’s position as a top leader in the number of people living in extreme poverty. “Massive voters’ turnout is largely due to the desire to secure a better Nigeria. We are seeking change in the areas of social justice, economic opportunity, welfare upgrade, environmental protection, health benefits and an overall improved standard of living of the average Nigerian. “Although, there have been recounts of violence in some polling units across the country, people are boldly pushing back, reasserting themselves, regardless of threats and intimidations. What we are witnessing now appears to be a powerful flash of resilience and patriotism.” Said Lawal

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