YIAGA AFRICA, INEC, ECES, EU, Collaborate
At least 15,000 Varsity students have committed to participate actively at the upcoming 2019 general elections. The students cutting across six Universities from six Geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Also at least a total of 25,000 students across six Universities were provided opportunity to register at the just concluded Youth Votes Count Campus outreach held across all the six Geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
The Campus Outreach program organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in collaboration with YIAGA AFRICA AFRICA and European Centre for Electoral Support with the support of European Union in Nigeria reached out at least 15,000 students with the gospel of Youth participation in the electoral process.
The Voter education campaign which was launched in the University of Abuja has successfully reached out to at least 15,000 Students cutting across University of Lagos, University of Port Harcourt, Bayero University Kano and Modibbo Adama University. With the constant presence of Celebrities like Korede Bello, Bankole Wellington, Innocent Idibia, Uti Nwachukwu, Waje, Bright Okpocha, Chidinma Ekile, Helen Paul, Cobams Asuquo, and Ebuka Ubi-Uchendu the Campus outreach concluded its Voter Education Campaign trail with another massive turnout by students of University of Nigeria, Nssuka as celebrities all turned up to encourage youths to participate in the electoral process.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, during series of Outreach to the students reiterated the Commission’s commitment to always include young people as part of the commission’s adhoc staff. Prof Yakubu also encouraged young people to register and collect their Permanent Voters Card as he urges them to ensure to come out and vote on elections day.
While urging students to get their PVCs and come out to vote on election day, the INEC Chairman who was represented by Dr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner in-charge of information and Voter Education, said the commission was committed to conducting credible, free and fair election in the 2019 General Elections.
According to him, the country’s democracy to advance, Nigerian youths must be fully involved in politics. He said young people had the capacity, energy and intellect to be involved in the democratic process in order to positively influence and boost the country’s democracy.
“For the country’s democracy to advance, youths must channel their capacity and intellect in all electoral processes that will result in free and fair elections. “Youths are future leaders and the destiny of this country lies in their hands. “Every youth should have his or her Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ready to vote and protect the vote.
Also speaking, Amb. Ketil Karisen, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the aim of the bloc was to sensitise Nigerian youths on the essence of ensuring credible, free and fair elections in 2019.
“We are not supporting any party’s candidate or political party but our concern is to ensure credible, free and fair election.
“Since 1999, EU has spent over 100 million euros in support of elections in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is receiving the highest fund from EU because it is the most populous and biggest economy in Africa.”
The ambassador urged youths to resist any attempt to use them as thugs or accept any inducement for them to sell their votes during elections.
“Youths should resist any attempt to use them to cause violence in the 2019 General Elections.
“Youths should also sensitise people around them on the dangers of vote buying and resist any attempt by some politicians to lure them into any wrong doing,’’ he said.
Mr Emeka Ononamadu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, appealed to the electorate to ensure that they participated actively in the elections.
Ononamadu said records available to INEC in Enugu showed low turnout of voters in the 2015 General Elections.
“The last election had 1.4 registered voters in Enugu State but only about 500,000 people voted.
“Now for the 2019 General Elections, 1.9 million voters have registered, which is a sign that the people are determined to drive democracy in the state,’’ he said.
Also in a remark, the President of the Students Union Government in UNN, Mr Fortunatus Chimezie, commended the EU and INEC for organising the event in the institution.
Chimezie assured them that the students would vote wisely come 2019 and would not be involved in vote selling or election violence.