Address presented by the State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom Branch, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, at the 2nd CLO Democracy Day Commemorative Lecture at the auditorium of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Press Centre, Information Drive, Uyo, on Tuesday, 28th June, 2022.

Protocol,

My task is just to welcome everyone to the 2nd CLO Democracy Day Commemorative
Lecture with the theme: The Role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Deepening
Democracy in Akwa Ibom State.

The 1st CLO public lecture to mark Democracy Day in Akwa Ibom State was held on 18th June, 2021 in conjunction with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Solomon Enang, who also delivered the Keynote address at the event. The event was held at the auditorium of the
Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Image House, Uyo. The theme of the event,
which was: “Democracy, Insecurity and the Unity of Nigeria,” held under the Chairmanship of the Member representing Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke. The Guest Speaker was the National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon (Barr.) Emmanuel Enoidem. The event drew participants from a broad spectrum of society, including the Paramount Ruler of Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, His Royal Majesty, Edidem (Dr.) Edet Akpan Inyang, Am.P., JP, who was Father of the Day, and then President-General of Oron Union, Chief (Mrs.) Janet Amba PHF, who was Mother of the Day. Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Akwa Ibom State, Comrade Ini Ememobong, was a Special Guest Discussant. The Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command, CP Andrew Amiengheme, delivered an address on security.

CLO is a non-partisan pro-democracy organisation that fought for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria. CLO is also an internationally-recognised human rights group whose tenets are to fight for human rights of Nigeria’s citizens and to hold public office holders accountable to the people.

The theme of today’s lecture is apt as we are gearing towards general elections in 2023.
The need for civil society groups in the State to shift from the known paradigm towards
an active role in ensuring good governance cannot be over-emphasised. Having fought
for the enthronement of democracy, civil society groups must now work on the government and the people to ensure participatory democracy. While government must be held to account in the aspect of giving to the people the dividends of democracy, the people must also be awakened to their obligation to hold government accountable and also to safeguard the dividends of democracy given to them by government.

As part of her strategic intervention and commitment to the promotion of good
governance, the CLO is undertaking a holistic interrogation of the challenges besetting
three key sectors of the economy of Akwa Ibom State with a view to prescribing
solutions. These key sectors are: Agriculture, Health and Education.

This is a follow-up action to the One-Day RoundTable organised by the CLO, Akwa Ibom Branch, at Watbridge Hotel, Uyo, on Thursday, 16th September, 2021. The CLO has inaugurated a 27-member panel of eminent persons drawn from a broad
spectrum of society to undertake this task within a given timeline.

The Report and recommendations of this panel will set the agenda for 2023 as they will be handed to the 2023 Governorship Candidates of all the political parties in Akwa Ibom State for incorporation into their manifestoes.

CLO recognises that the three sectors (Agriculture, Health and Education) constitute the core of the economic development of Akwa Ibom State in the 21st Century. It is,
therefore, important that the next administration in the State from the outset of 29th May, 2023 be well equipped to redress the challenges of, and revamp, the key thematic areas for the optimal benefit of the people of Akwa Ibom State.

The Report of the Trenchard Ibia-led Committee will provide the framework for a
Debate planned by CLO for Governorship and Senatorial candidates in the 2023 general
election in Akwa Ibom State.

Today is not my day, so I promise not to make long speeches. I will allow our guest
lecturer, a renowned Professor of Broadcasting, Political and Development
Communication and the Head, Department of Film and Multimedia Studies, University
of Uyo, an erudite scholar, Professor Charles Obot, to handle today’s talk while I join the
audience to listen to his lecture.

You are welcome!

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