Road to 2023: Don’t buy or sell votes, NOA urges Nigerians

From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called on Nigeria not to sell or buy votes so they can elect credible leaders into various political offices.

NOA is a federal government agency saddled with the responsibility of educating, sensitizing and informing the citizens of government’s programmes and at the same time, getting useful feedback from citizens.

The Director of the Agency in Kaduna State, Galadima Zubairu Soba, who made the call while playing host to members of the We-You project led by Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW) with support from ActionAid Nigeria in Kaduna also frowned at voter’s apathy which he said should be addressed before the next round of elections.

The Acting Executive Director of LANW who is also the Facilitator of We-You project in Kaduna, Mrs. Hannatu Hauwan, had told the NOA Director that, the project wanted to see political structure more inclusive by way of supporting women and young people to be elected into party and political offices.

“LANW with support from ActionAid Nigeria is implementing a We-You project in six local government areas in Kaduna which are Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Chikun, Zaria and Jema’a, aiming at seeing an increase in women and youth participation in politics.

“We are engaging with relevant stakeholders who have roles to play in the coming elections to know what they have done, what they are doing to ensure the success of the elections.

“So, we want to see if there is any area we can collaborate with NOA since we have about 300 mentees spread across various communities in six LGAs who can offer support at their levels”, she inquired.

Responding, the NOA director sought partnership with LAMN in the areas of need for prospective voters to go and collect their permanent voter’s card (PVC), plan to use it to elect credible leaders, voting aright and ensure violent free balloting in all the election processes.

To him, “NOA has placed more priority on durable political culture whereby we will not just be on the same page with other countries, but ahead of them. Our political education must show something extra.

“Right from colonial days, Kaduna has been a political voice and that is why NOA is not relenting on its oars to educate Nigerians in this part of the country.

“In 2022, we have been educating citizens to register during the continuous voter registration because anyone who is 18 years and above has the civic responsibility to participate in our electoral practices. Anyone who is of age but refuses to participate does not mean well to us.

“Democracy is the only system of governance that gives all and sundry the privilege to contribute meaningfully to the growth and development. Anyone who is of age without a voter’s card is a drawback to the country.

“The issue of having free, fair and balanced election has been of serious concern to those who meant well for the country. Nigerians should be conscious of the dividing factors that are promoted by politicians.

“Sensibly, we must be together to fight those mundane factors that divide us. We have all in us – academic prowess, business prowess, professional prowess and all we need as a country.

“So, we need to join hands to tell those that have registered to go and collect their PVC. We need to preach no violence even in the face of provocation.

“We need to educate those with PVC on the correct or proper voting procedure because some people don’t know the candidates, logo, name of political parties until they get to their point units. They should know how to properly cast their vote and how to fold the ballot.

“Do not sell your vote. Do not sell your conscience. Do not buy votes. Most important, we need all hands to be on deck in the area of voter apathy. People have registered, they have their PVC, they should go out and vote because their votes have the power to elect credible leaders”, he said.

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