September 22, 2023
BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR.
National Association of Nigerian Traders [NANTS] has launched farmers’ manifesto and traders’ charter of demands articulated to ensure that agricultural policies designed by the political class effectively target the small scale farmers and that farmers are empowered to hold elected office holders accountable.
Speaking at the launch of the programme on Monday in Abuja, Bar. Ken Ukaoha, President of NANTS, explained that farmers have realised that the era of bogus and empty promises that do not have written commitments make it impossible for citizens to hold political parties and their candidates accountable for implementing parties’ manifestos.
He noted that the challenges, needs, interests and priorities of the Nigerian farmers have been captured in the manifesto, adding that politicians vying for various offices in 2019 would be made to sign the document, if such politician would get farmers votes.
According to him, “It is important to note that today’s event is a collective and proactive attempt at re-activating good governance by re-kindling competition among political actors for the benefit of the masses.
“As 2019 general elections approach, we cannot but recall that there have been too many promises and several disappointments from politicians who promise to build heaven on the earth, just to attract our votes and quickly change their phone numbers as soon as they are voted into office.
“It is now abundantly clear to us that through our survey that the traders and farmers constitute over 75 per cent of the real electorate, making the constituencies the largest voting population in Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that NANTS is the umbrella organisation of traders in Nigeria. However, to encourage the inter-link between market access and production of goods, NANTS membership has been expanded to include local manufacturers as well as small scale farmers.
Ukaoha said, “The launch of the Farmers Manifesto and the Traders Charter of Demands presents campaign opportunity for political flag bearers and candidates to meet with grassroots farmers’ leaders and traders to commit their signatures to guarantee securing their votes.
“Let us make it clear that the essence of this process is not to support any particular candidate or give preference to any but to secure farmers’ demands and make political gladiators more responsive and accountable to the electorate.
“This concept is designed to effectively practicalise the foundation of democracy and bring effect to the meaning that, “power belongs to the people.
“Nigerians deserve good governance, economic growth and sustainable development. All these cannot be achieved and good governance cannot be supplied by politicians without adequate demand from the people.”
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