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Civil Society, Critical To Transparent Credible Elections – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Civil Society has critical role to play in the transparency and credibility of any Electoral Process in the country.

The Head of Department (HOD), Voter Education Providers (VEPs), INEC Sokoto State, Mr. Mohammed Takai, said this at a one day zonal sensitization for VEPs organized by the United Nations Development (UNDP), in Sokoto.

The INEC and Civil Society participants in the workshop were drawn from across seven North-Western states including Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kaduna.

Takai said INEC partnered with CSOs for iimpactful information dissemination on society regarding voter education and electoral processes in general.

This was buttressed by Administrative Secretary, Hauwa Aliyu Kangiwa, INEC Sokoto, who said with the participants as critical stakeholders, it is expected that the knowledge acquired from the workshop would assist in ensuring voters are educated, and voting information properly disseminated and mobilization adequately carried out.

She therefore urged the stakeholders to partner with the Commission in ensuring a hitch free and successful conduct of the 2023 general elections, through awareness and proper Voter Education to Communities.

With less than 130 days to the 2023 general elections with electoral activities towards the conduct of the elections are already geared up, campaigns of Political Parties have already begun.

On September 28, 2022 Presidential and National Assembly Elections kicked off on one hand, and on the other hand October 12, 2022, for Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections.

Mr. Deryck Fritz, UNDP Chief Technical Adviser for Elections, said whilst democratic elections can contribute significantly to the advancement of Nigeria’s development aspirations it is only possible if voters can participate fully and freely in the electoral process.

“To do this, citizens must have the information at their disposal that will facilitate their choice of representatives. They must be able to distinguish between credible and non-credible sources of information so that they can trust that their vote will matter,”

“They must also believe that the entity entrusted with organizing the elections is impartial and is there to serve the interests of all Nigerians, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, and other traditionally marginalized groups,” Mr. Fritz said

Moreover, citizens must understand the mechanics of the elections, as well of the respective roles of INEC, the political parties as well as their own role as voters, Mr. Fritz explained.

According to the UN expert, INEC has recognized that it cannot conduct voter education on its own, and that it requires the support and collaboration of organizations that work in communities across the country, from you, the civil society organization here represented.

He said the outcomes of well-organized elections will be viewed as legitimate, and thus, the social contract and the resulting governance are strengthened. Also, credible voter education will assist with countering disinformation, and building trust and credibility in the overall process.

“It is for this reason that UNDP has partnered with INEC, to support this series of workshops around the country,” He said.

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