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2023: NOA Organizes Citizens Sensitization Programme, Synergizes Towards Peaceful Election

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2023: NOA Organizes Citizens Sensitization Programme, Synergizes Towards Peaceful Election

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kwara on Thursday, organized a one-day interactive Seminar with all stakeholders in the State on peaceful, violent free and credible 2023 general election.

As the 2023 general elections draw closer, critical stakeholders have agreed to work in synergy to ensure a secure environment for a peaceful election and reduce violence in the state.

The Director of the National Orientation Agency, Kwara state, Mr Olusegun Adeyemi, said NOA has stepped up its voter sensitization campaign and is committed to achieving a credible election.

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He noted that the agency is focusing on reducing the number of voided votes, sensitization for peaceful general elections, as well as sensitizing against vote buying and selling.

According to him, “We must commend the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the electoral law which would make the conduct of the elections more transparent and assist the Independent National Electoral Commission to midwife the election effectively and efficiently.

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“I wish to admonish Nigerians, the elites, especially against voter apathy, a situation where voters stay away from the electoral process especially voting due to fake news, fear of possible violence or the belief that their votes don’t count.

Mr Adeyemi reiterates the need for those who are yet to collect their PVCs to do so immediately, as thousands of Permanent Voter Cards remain uncollected at INEC offices.

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He said the high number of void votes recorded in past elections had sometimes prevented the best candidates from emerging and this must be prevented by voting correctly. We, therefore, urged stakeholders, especially political parties to teach their supporters how to thumbprint correctly on the election.

The director of the agency said, No reason is genuine and valid enough to stop a patriotic Nigerian from participating in the electoral process as the government is evolving a multiagency approach to provide security, accurate information and other things needed by the electorate.

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He added that Media practitioners are the primary stakeholders and urge them to continue using their platforms to sensitize electorates on vote buying, voter apathy, void votes and other issues that would give birth to credible elections and candidates.

While soliciting the cooperation and support of the people of the state, said Parents, guardians, educational and religious institutions, and political leaders should therefore continually discourage youths from allowing evil-minded persons to use them to destroy campaigns of perceived opponents.

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He urges the political actors and elective office holders in the state, to make campaigns issue based.

“Do not stir up the polity with a campaign of calumny, violence and hate speeches, rather, make your plans lucid and stop distorting the truth about a candidate primarily by emphasising his or her personal attributes at the expense of information about issues on the ground which is quite risky and destroys our political structure.

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“We must keep reiterating the message of peace, educate people that election is not war, rather, it should be peaceful, credible, free and fair in the interest of all and sundry,” he added.

In his speech, the Kwara State chairman of Nigeria Union Of Journalism, Abdullateef Ahmed, while speaking on the role of media, he said what makes an election to be credible, transparent and fair is to let the media involved.

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He says, ” If media are not involved in the process of election and good governance, then we’ll be inviting anarchy into the system.

He explained that the role of media is to inform the general public about the collection of PVC, saying apathy starts from not collecting of PVC.

Journalists need to be cognizant of the electoral law, and it is expected of journalists to be very careful while discharging duties during elections.

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Mr Ahmed said out of curiosity some media platforms rushed to break news while the electoral umpire that is saddled with such responsibility is yet to do so.

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He, however, appeals to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, to ensure that media practitioners and accredited journalists for election coverage are well protected because they are endangered species.

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On his part, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Garba Madami, said National Orientation Agency are their major partner in the area of enlightenment and educating the public.

According to him, ” Out of 2087 polling units in Kwara, 3 polling units have zero registration, namely offa, Ilorin-west and Baruten respectively.

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Mr Madami maintained that the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System BVAS would curtail rigging and other forms of electoral manipulations commonly perpetrated by politicians.

He said  BVAS and IReV, is an almighty technology that will be used to upload election results in order to ensure a free, fair and credible election.

The REC said the collection of PVC will commence officially on the 12th of December 2022 in all 193 wards in Kwara state.

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He, however, warns those who are peddling fake news around that people can enfranchise their civil rights without having PVC, saying security agencies will be stationed in all polling units to arrest anybody that violated the electoral act.

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Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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