CDD Calls For Inclusive Voter Education In 2015 Elections
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on stakeholders to embark on an effective Voter Education before the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria.
The call is coming after CDD made public its briefing note titled “Who is the King-Maker in Nigeria: The Voter or the Godfather” on Monday 17 November 2014.
In a press statement signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, it argues that since independence, Nigeria’s politics has been reduced to mere contest between individuals, religious or ethnic groups struggling for access and/or control over state resources.
It however, recommends that Nigerian Government should increase the current financial allocation to INEC to allow the Commission conduct effective voter education and that an Electoral Offences Commission should be established to ensure those who commit electoral offences are held accountable.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission should intensify collaboration with organisations like National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Federal Ministry of Information and umbrella bodies such as the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), CSOs and media to increase voter education in Nigeria.
“It should partner with CSOs to develop context specific voter education materials incorporating issues from pre, during, and post elections. INEC should take the lead in the re-orientation of the Nigerian public from voter education to civic education,” CDD wrote in its press statement.
CDD also recommended that political parties must deepen voter education among their members as they are the major beneficiaries during elections.
“Political parties should concentrate on developing issue-based policies in their manifestos and campaign only on issues as a means of attracting votes during elections. They should mobilise their supporters and members to enhance their chances at elections,” it stated.
CDD noted that the National Human Rights Commission needs to embark on voter education by highlighting issues related to electoral justice and electoral offences. It advised NHRC to amplify its electoral impunity campaign by continuously publishing the names of those indicted by Nigerian courts for electoral malpractices in previous elections.
CDD averred that Civil Society Organisations and Professional Bodies should devise conventional and unconventional means of reaching out to voters to exercise their mandates in a way that positively influences the outcome of elections.
“They should concentrate on working with local partners to develop issue- based civic education materials, by including post-election mandate protection as a core component of election cycle projects, prioritise socio, cultural and political contexts in their voter education messaging and deliberately target their voter education exercises at the grassroots level so as to meet the larger and uninformed populace,” it stressed.
CDD conclusively call on Donor Agencies and Development Partners to fund voter education projects that are inclusive, representative of the target population and empowers youths, women, persons with disabilities, local communities and disadvantaged Nigerians and help them to exercise their civic mandates.
“They should empower CSOs at the grassroots level to develop context specific voter education programmes, support the activities of NGOs and CSOs working at the grassroots level to design and implement voter education programme. And ensure that voter education programmes are funded timely to allow for trickle down effects especially at the grassroots level,” it concluded.
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