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Stakeholders Push For Increased Voter Education To Address Apathy

Stakeholders at a one-day town hall meeting on Electoral Reform have stressed the need for increased voter participation in electioneering processes.

The meeting organised by Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa, PAACA was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The event was well attended by officials of INEC, Security agencies, civil society groups, the media and key players during the 2023 election.

The Conversation on necessary reforms needed to bring about transparency in the nation’s electoral process took the centre stage as experts brainstormed on issues that negatively affected the 2023 General Elections.

Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC, Mr. Obo Effanga who was represented by Mr. Mark Usulor said that the commission is not resting on its oars but working with other stakeholders to improve on existing gains.

Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa, PAACA, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu said that understanding the laws that govern the electioneering process was very important in order to propose credible reforms.

He said: “To ensure and to educate stakeholders to take interest in understanding the legal regime with which elections are conducted.

“And my argument is that we pay a lot of attention to every other thing, the cost of electricity, garri and Fuel is embedded in how much we are interested in our leadership recruitment process and the law that helps us to do that and explains how that is done comes from the electoral Act, and if we do not show interest in it and are not educated about it, I wonder how much we can impress our leaders.

“The issue of misbehaviour of electoral officials is embedded in the Electoral Act.”

The Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Rivers State Council, Mr Stanley Job said that the role of the media in Electioneering reportage is not static and Journalists have a reputation to uphold even as they carry out their duties.

Participants at the town hall meeting called for more sensitization on the extent of reforms done to deepen the transparent nature of the Nation’s electoral process.

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