By Sampson Uhuegbu
One of the official duties of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to educate the general public during election. Indeed, It is a clear-cut responsibility that needs not be kept beneath the truth.
In as much as it is a civic responsibility of every Nigerian to participate in the election as citizens, it is also advisable that voters are kept abreast of developments as it pertains to the forthcoming polls. Many might not had gotten it right if they were never guided properly on what to do and how it should be done.
As the 2023 general election is fast coming, there is need to harp on issuance of Permanent Voter Card (PVC), enlightenment and education of voters by the INEC staff especially in the rural areas for the interest of the electorate who want to cast their votes for candidates of their choices.
The eighteen (18) registered political parties should be familiarized with not only the voter in the rural areas, but every eligible voter should be made to know the logo of the platform under which their preferred flagbearers are vieing.
Perhaps, in the past election years, some uneducated voters might have wrongly cast their votes for party “A” that has similar logo identify with that of “B” without knowing they had missed the track.
In the 2015 State House of Assembly election, a certain woman in Ebonyi was quoted to have stabbed herself to death after she realized shortly aftermath of the exercise, that she was not properly guided on what to d; and that he voted for a another candidate.
From the year 1999 till date, the level of surge by Nigerians to get their Permenent Voter Cards is alarmingly rising and this agitation has forced the electoral umpire to have extended the closing date to July, 31st, 2022.
During the day of election, all the agents representing various political parties are expected to be at the polling units to monitor the processes and ensure they win election at the tail-end.
It is the wish of Nigerians that political parties should also make a complementary efforts towards making sure they sensitize the general public on what their party’s logos are.
It is on record that the States House of Assembly, Governorship, House of Representatives, Senatorial and Presidential elections are to hold in 2023; and by now, Nigerians know their candidates.
Adequate information and education about the electoral process needs not to be overlooked. Even though it is INEC’s statutory duty to conduct voter and civic education and to promote democratic processes.
Even though huge resources are usually appropriated for the commission and it also gets supports from Development partners to conduct voter education and publicity. All eyes are on the INEC not to shy away from this strategic role.
As a matter of fact, the electoral Commission should not cross the line into partisanship and undermine its high-minded core values of neutrality and impartiality during the forthcoming election. Nigerians want to make judicious use of this opportunity to make their votes count.
Journalists and Civil society organizations, apart from serving as purveyors of electoral information, are also expected to set a criteria for the type of candidates Nigerians need at all levels this time.
Agenda is supposed to be set on leadership, candidates should be subjected to scrutiny; and provide platforms for them to robustly debate so that the voter can make wise choices.
It is expedient to state here, that all stakeholders involved in the electoral processes should be on the same page which would go a long way to discourage discordant tunes which may confuse the electorate.