By Kaduna State EPLF Fellows: Bernice Abeku, Nathaniel Ovabor, Didam Laah, and Abdullahi Ladan.
The only thing constant in life is change! Notwithstanding, the EPLF fellows of Kaduna State took us through the lens of creating spaces for change by fulfilling their Civic Engagement Activity.
Very impressive of them! Now, let’s delve in, shall we?
Looking at the security challenges that have plagued Kaduna State in recent times and how this challenge could potentially affect voter participation in the upcoming elections, fellows saw the need to provide a platform to reassure citizens, demystify certain misconceptions, answer pertinent questions, and also serve as a feedback tool for INEC.
In fulfillment of the Fellowship’s pillars on Civic Engagement, the Kaduna State EPLF organized a radio program for this purpose, with the topic focusing on: “Public Sensitization on the Electoral Act 2022: Processes, Citizens’ Rights and Obligations”. The sole aim of this activity was to address core societal issues and point the way toward active participation in governance to the average Nigerian in their sphere of influence.
Interestingly, Seven (7) people participated in the radio sensitization exercise. The fellows in the persons of Didam Laah, Abdullahi Ladan, Nathaniel Ovabor, and Bernice Abeku; organized this event in partnership with Invicta FM (One of the leading radio stations in Kaduna), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) state office, ably represented by the HOD Voter Education and Publicity, Hajiya Rukaiyatu Sani Imam and Administrative Secretary, Alhaji Awwal Mashi. Also present at the event was Barr. Idris Mohammed, is a Legal Practitioner, political analyst, and Former Secretary of, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Kaduna Chapter. The radio show which lasted for an hour was hosted by Invicta 98.9FM Kaduna and streamed live on their Facebook page with call lines provided for listeners. In the course of the show, panelists spoke extensively about the new electoral act, how it practically comes to life during the elections, and what this implies for the average voter. An aggregated number of 1.67 million listeners were recorded.
A number of questions and concerns were raised via calls and Facebook messages ranging from voter registration, PVC issuance, collection points, election security, the electronic voting process, and ad-hoc staff responsibilities among others and these were extensively answered by the panelists present.
From the peoples’ responses and keen interest to understand what the electoral process entailed, it was clear and quite encouraging to note that despite popular belief and past experiences, many Nigerians are still interested in carrying out their civic obligation and learning ways of holding the system and leaders accountable. However, it was also clear that many other people have also become disillusioned or disenfranchised from the Nigerian system of governance.
This calls for an intentional effort not just on the part of the government but also Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and enlightened citizens to participate in aggressive sensitization in our spheres of influence especially among the younger demography, toward ensuring improved participation and accountability in our governance processes.
Going forward, as fellows we will be taking advantage of other platforms that present opportunities to sensitize the populace on the need for peaceful and credible elections and citizens’ participation in the upcoming electoral process.
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