The National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Thursday said continuous voter education is essential for the achievement of free, fair and peaceful elections in Abia.
Mrs Ngozi Okechukwu, Abia Coordinator of NOA, made this known in Umuahia during a news conference organised by the agency as part of the activities for the begining of the Second
Phase of its Zonal Constituency Project.
The project is centered on training youths and women in Abia Central Senatorial zone on electoral rules, regulations and guidelines governing elections in Nigeria.
The state coordinator said that the agency intended to utilise the project to raise informed and responsible voters to help safeguard the integrity of the process that would produce the state’s leaders.
She said that the project would be executed on a multidimensional approach to strengthen electorate’s participation in Abia Central Senatorial Zone, the state and nation at large.
Okechukwu said that the first phase of the project involved mobilising the registered voters that had not collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to go for their abandoned cards.
According to her, the second phase of the project would include mobile messaging campaigns, media briefings, road shows and grassroot sensitisation to enhance voter education among the electorate.
“This is the beginning of a series of voter education activities lined up before the 2023 general elections.
” NOA will continue to use its platforms and structure across the state to advance continuous voter education because informed and responsible voters will safeguard the electoral integrity and credibility in the state.
“Also with sufficient education, it will be easier to eliminate abuses such as vote buying, rigging and thuggery,” she said.
Okechukwu expressed the readiness of the agency to partner with relevant agencies to encourage the establishment of an electoral process that would produce authentic and exemplary leaders.
Also, Mrs Rebecca Jim, the Head of Voter Education Department of INEC, said the commission
introduced innovations that would not give room for rigging in 2023 general elections.
Jim, who was represented by Mr Kelechi Okere, the Head of Unit, Voter Education in INEC, urged registered voters to endeavour to collect their PVC.
She said: “No incident form will be issued during the elections, also the biomodal voter accreditation system had been structured in such a way that accreditation would be done through finger print and facial recognition.”
Jim said that this had raised the need for increased sensitisation campaigns to encourage the electorate to resist any form of vote buying in the upcoming elections.
Earlier, Mr Godwin Adindu, the Director General of Abia State Orientation Agency, said that the emergence of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) had created a paradigm shift in election matters.
Adindu said “this calls for the use of grassroot engagement” to equip every member of the society with proper information to enable them to resist acts of vote buying and thuggery.(NAN)