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NOA embarks on sensitisation of electorate in North/West




Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has embarked on sensitisation of the electorate in all the seven states in the North West geopolitical zone.

Director-General of the agency, Dr Garba Abari, led the exercise at a two-day zonal workshop for citizen groups and other Stakeholders on civic and voter Education in Kaduna on Wednesday.

Abari, represented by NOA’s Project Director, Mr David Akeji, said “The main thrust of this workshop for the seven states of North West is to build the stakeholders’ capacity.

“And to assist NOA to enlighten citizens on how to vote to avoid vote buying, invalid and voided votes.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event sponsored by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) to address high rate of rejected, invalid and voided votes during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

NNN reports that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reported that total of 1,289,607 votes were rejected during the exercise.

Abari went further that “We have so many political parties and their symbols are similar, so the voter needs to be enlightened on how to recognise them.

“We are working in our offices in the 774 local government areas. We are showing samples of the parties’ symbols on a large poster to enable the voter identify the one he wants to vote. “

Meanwhile, Kaduna State Government has said the workshop would help voters in the state to identify the political parties of their choice.

Permanent Secretary in office of the Head of Civil Service of the State, Malam Ibrahim Jere, who represented the state government, commended the effort.

He said “This should have taken place since, but we should repeat the process on and on. There are lots of people that don’t know how to vote. Kaduna State has lots of commitment to voter education.

“This is not just about 2019 elections, but there are people who just turned 18, people should know who they want to elect and how to vote.

“This workshop can address the high number of invalid, voided votes we had in the last elections. “

Also, Executive Director, African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development, Mr Monday Osasah frowned at the poor turnout during the last election.

He called for intense mobilisation to cover the gaps noticed during the exercise.

“There was something missing in the last Presidential and National Assembly Elections, and what was missing was the poor turnout of voters which did not reflect the number of registered voters in each state.

“There should have been mobilisation of voters to be part of the elections. This workshop will help in mobilising the people to come out and determine who should govern them,“ he said.

On his part, the Kaduna State Director of NOA, Malam Zubairu Galadima blamed politicians and political parties for not educating their party members and supporters on the proper handling of the ballot paper during elections.

Galadima called on the parties to educate their supporters more to enable them know how to vote during elections.