As residents of the Federal Capital Territory prepare for the area council election tomorrow, stakeholders have expressed concerns on posible low voter turnout due to poor sensitization by election umpires.
This was why an independent election observer organized a community outreach program in the Area Councils, to sensitize the residents on the importance of exercising their franchise.
According to a board member of the observer group, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, during a community outreach conducted by Yiaga Africa in Gwarinpa and Dutse market, the feedback revealed that while a handful of residents are aware of the elections, a good number neither knew about the election nor the candidates contesting in the election.
“The LGA election which is considered closest to the people has not received the intensive grassroots campaign for citizens’ participation in the process. Political parties are largely culpable in poor voter mobilization ahead of the elections”.
According to him, these are possible factors of low voter turnout.
“More worrisome are the issues around multiple taxations which has also contributed to the lack of interest amongst citizens.
He emphasized the need to improve
“The Deployment of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS): the commission should stabilize the deployment of technology to improve the transparency of the process, we are also worried that the high number of registered voters in these polling units may pose a major challenge for crowd control and effective management of the polling units on election day, women representation is abysmally low, with female candidacy at 8.87%”. He said.
The Organizer of the outreach, Samson Itodo, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure early deployment of its personnel and materials to polling units for early commencement of the poll.
” To ensure transparency, INEC should publish the Permanent Voters Card rate as it had initially promised to do before the elections.
INEC election officials must ensure uniformity and consistency in the application of guidelines across all polling stations, provide explicit information on accreditation and voting procedure as well as the result collation process and announcement and Security Agencies
should collaborate with the commission to secure election materials, personnel and citizens”.
The Representative of the National Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria, Dr Aisha Akanbi called on women to participate in the election by coming out en mass to vote.
She said “women are suffering but with good governance, they can achieve adding that development is not possible without active participation of women.
By Julian Osamoto