By Martha Agas
Jos – The National Orientation Agency (NOA) says it has expanded voter education campaign to the 17 local government areas in Plateau for effective participation of voters in 2019 general elections .
Mr Bulus Dabit, NOA State Director, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Jos.
He said the campaign also targeted youths who could easily be engaged in violence during elections.
“The voter education is to discourage the manipulation of youths to perpetrate evil during elections. It is unfortunate that ballot boxes are usually snatched by them.
“They are also hired by political rivals to intimidate Nigerians from voting their choice candidates, through violent attacks,“he said.
Dabit said that the voter education was expanded from the three senatorial districts of the state to the local government areas, to address voter apathy by engaging community and opinion leaders in sensitisation.
“People believe that their votes will not count in the forthcoming general elections because of past experiences; the campaign is to reassure them that all measures are being taken to address that fear.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies will create enabling environment for peaceful elections.
“We also want to reduce the number of cancelled votes during elections; many people do not know how to vote, hence the record of many invalid votes during elections.
“We also want to encourage women participation in elections through ensuring that gender issues are mainstreamed in electoral processes at levels.’’
The NOA official noted that women were inadequately represented in political parties and appointments leading to their discouragement in voting.
Dabit said NOA was working in partnership with INEC, security agencies, community, religious, women and youth leaders to ensure qualified voters fully participate in the 2019 elections.
According to him, confidence building is necessary to ensure voters that, their participation is important in the election of their choice candidates.