By EDITH NWAPI
ABUJA- The National Human Rights Commission is to establish a National Register against Hate Speech to promote normative principles and frameworks for the 2023 General Elections.
Mr Tony Ojukwu, SAN, the Executive Secretary of NHRC, made this known on Monday at the launch of s programme tagged:” Mobilising Voters for Election (MOVE)” in Abuja.
The commission, he said, will also develop guidelines for the Protection of Voters’ Access Principles in Security Operations at Elections and Organize Consultations and Sensitisation for the Nigerian Police on the Protection of Voters’ Access Principles at Elections
” The MOVE project is expected to increase citizens’ participation in elections and integrate human rights principles into the electoral process to ensure access.
“It will also increase participation and ensure human rights oversight in law enforcement and security before, during and after the elections” he said.
He said the commission was moved to initiate this project due to its concern over the rising voter regression and political apathy that has descended into the political landscape since the 2011 general Elections.
He added that statistics available to the Commission reveal that only around 10 per cent of the voting eligible public participated in the 2021 election in Anambra State.
” The rising voter regression is a consequent of the mismanagement of Nigerian elections in the past.
” Characterised by violence, rigging and disenfranchisement of voters, failed elections bring about a lot negative outcomes which ultimately erodes voters’ confidence in electoral process.
” The lack of effective voter participation in Elections robs citizens of their fundamental role in a democracy, which is the freedom to choose their representatives.
” We believe that this MOVE project will enable the Commission to integrate human rights into democracy and as well ensure citizens’ participation in the upcoming 2023 general elections” he said.
He said the project will promote increased participation of citizens in the voting process through access to permanent voters’ card .
” This will be achieved by conducting high-Level advocacy Outreach to INEC and conducting PVC Collection Campaigns amongst other activities.
” We will also mobilise the electorate and create awareness on the right to vote and its associated human rights which the commission intends to achieve by monitoring the voting process and carrying out a voter mobilisation campaign,” he said.
He said the commission also intends to build partnerships for the integration of human rights on the agenda of political parties and candidates as a measure to building voter confidence and participation” he said.
He highlighted the role of the citizen in relation to the issues that are being discussed.
“Ones power as a citizen is a huge responsibility that must be exercised soberly.
“We must engage in the political process while respecting the fact that the Political space is filled with plurality of ideas.
” You are more likely to convince someone to see things your way and possibly cast a vote for your favoured candidate when you respectfully try to persuade them rather than when you insult them or cast aspersions on their faith or ethnicity.
” As we engage in the political process, we must do so with the utmost respect for those who do not necessarily agree with us” he said. (NAN)