Political party seeks priority for Voter Education

The election was marred by voter aparthy... Photo:Egghead Odewale

The party believes that continuous voter education is essential for a credible electoral process.

An opposition party, Progressive Action Congress (PAC) on Thursday called on politicians and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to give priority attention to voter education, in order to improve Nigeria’s electoral process.

Speaking during an interview in Abuja, the Party’s National Chairman, Charles Nwodo, said that the negligence of the importance of voter education had been responsible for violence and a bulk of void votes during past elections.

“It is unfortunate that Nigeria operates [a] fire brigade approach in some of our undertakings, especially as regards to voter education,” the PAC chairman said, blaming INEC for not embarking on voter education exercises until elections were about to start.

Educating potential voters, he said, is however not INEC’s responsibility alone; political parties, civil societies, religious and traditional institutions, as well as the National Orientation Agency should also collaborate with the electoral body in this regard.

Nwodo said the government should be willing to fund such organisations in the voter education campaign, from the grassroots level upwards.

“The process of complaints where one’s name is omitted, the dangers of violence and rigging, how to protect their votes and how to make votes count generally will be avoided. All information related to the elections should be made known in advance for the betterment of the exercise,” Mr. Nwodo said.

“People who have relocated from their original homes are expected to know where to vote in subsequent elections,” he added.

Honesty, transparency and accountability, he said, were essential resources for wholly successful elections.

While urging the Federal Government to put every measure in place for smoother elections, Mr. Nwodo called on the National Assembly to create State Electoral Offences Commissions with well-defined duties.

“It is high time we practiced rule of law to avoid the jamboree experienced in the previous elections where people keep registration machines in their homes and nothing comes out of it at the end of the day,” he said.

According to Mr. Nwodo, voter education should be an integral part of civic studies at both primary and secondary school levels.

“When people are fully educated, it will go a long way in curtailing violence and bringing about credible elections,” he said.

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