By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the International Republican Institute (IRI) has tasked political parties in the country to develop state-based policies and manifestos that will enhance the participation of citizens in all political processes.

This was part of the outcome of a workshop organised Thursday by IRI in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with the theme: “Bauchi APC Citizens Engagement and Communication Development” for political parties in the state.

The workshop, which held separately for APC political party leaders, was anchored by Sunday Alao, the IRI Senior Programme Officer. The papers presented harped on improving political party communication, strengthening political party engagement and developing political party policies.

On his part, Alao said the purpose of the workshop was targeted at political parties developing policies that will serve as a social contract between parties and citizens and also serve as a basis for oversight of government officials.

He said: “Our intention is to see how we can enhance the capacities of political parties to be more representative and responsive to citizens’ priorities and concerns in regards to water, health, education and security.

“We feel the more effective way that citizens can be more responsive is to improve the communication strategy within political parties and citizens and this can be achieved when political parties are able to host townhall meetings and conduct researches.”

The programme officer said that it was through these avenues that political parties will know the concerns of citizens and the impact of governance on their lives, adding that it will influence the processes of the party developing policies that will respond to issues raised by the citizens.