Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), a Non-governmental Organisation, has launched YVote Naija, a digital web platform aimed at increasing voters’ participation in electoral process in Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the level of political apathy that thrives in Nigeria regarding voters’ participation and also analysed its implications on the democratic process.
For instance, only nine per cent of eligible voters took part in a recent by-election in Lagos State, the worst in 11 states where by-elections were held.
Announcing the launch of the project in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, BBYDI’s director, Abideen Olasupo, noted that democracy is built on the principle of participation where all citizens are expected to play active roles.
This, according to him, defines the art of nation-building where everyone is involved.
“In a democratic country like Nigeria, one of the metrics of measuring our democratic status is highlighted by regular elections.
“Since 1999 when the country returned to democracy, after a long hiatus with military rule, the country has held six elections. Some of the low points of these elections have been massive electoral apathy influenced by factors such as electoral violence, political thuggery, rigging, etc.
“Nonetheless, elections are what determine the quality of leadership a country has. Growing political apathy harms the development of the country. This is one of the reasons why we have decided to launch YVoteNaija,” he said.
He said YVoteNaija “will use data and digital systems to increase voter participation in elections and create a culture of participatory democracy.”
“We set out to educate Nigerians on the need to actively participate in the electoral process. We shall also be advocating for free, fair and peaceful elections. The process of electing public officials must be transparent and citizens must exercise their franchise without fear.
“This project will also address issues such as voter education, electoral violence, getting voters card and making the electoral laws accessible to more citizens. As the 2023 elections approach us, our mission is to play an active role in increasing participation in elections, especially among young people.”
“We will be working with various stakeholders including INEC, community-based organizations, religious institutions, youth led and women groups as well as the media to make this project a success. We will also fashion out ways to erase barriers to greater political participation. It is important we increase people’s participation in the electoral process and make it more meaningful.”
He urged eligible voters who are yet to register to ensure they do so “as INEC plans to resume its Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in the first quarter of this year.”
“We urge Nigerians of voting age who are yet to register to advantage of this opportunity to get registered and prepare to exercise their franchise when the need arises.”
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