The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday, organised a one-day capacity building for voter education providers aimed at ensuring increased voter turnout during the November 11 governorship election in Imo.
Declaring the workshop open, the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Sylvia Agu, said the voter education providers are expected to sensitise the electorate at the local government areas on voter education.
“We honestly recognise the fact that we cannot do it alone, hence, this engagement, which will empower you to move to focal local governments for voter education and sensitisation.
“We are hopeful to see increased voter turnout during the election, reduced invalid votes, electoral violence and respect for the sanctity of human life.
“I also expect you to factor in the ugly consequences of vote buying, while interfacing with the citizens, to deliver them from the hands of political jobbers whose style is to manipulate them into unhealthy games and personal gains,” Agu said.
She urged the voter education providers, mostly selected Civil Society Organisations, on the need to enlighten the electorate to rise up to the task of protecting their ballots.
“Sensitise the electorate on the need to collaborate with the security agents and the election officials at the polling unit level to deliver a free, fair, credible, transparent and safe election,” she said.
Earlier, the state INEC Administrative Secretary, Mr Fidelis Uguru, saidd that post-election review showed that low level of voter education among the people impacts negatively on the election.
Uguru said: “People not knowing what they ought to do has shown the trend of voter apathy, many rejected votes, voters doing the wrong thing and pessimism among the people.
“The commission deemed it proper to assemble you to help tell the citizens and electorate the correct information to enable them to understand the voting process.
“They need to understand how the system works so that INEC will not always be blamed when elections are rigged,” Uguru said.
In a lecture, a facilitator and Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC Abuja, Mrs Olori Tadese, underscored the importance of the training to ensure effective and efficient voting process during the governorship poll.