NOA organised voters’ education, stakeholders’ engagement for successful Anambra 2021 election

It was a clement day on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 when National Orientation Agency (NOA), Anambra State Directorate organised a voters’ education and stakeholders’ engagement programme in Aguleri, Anambra-East Local Government Area Headquarters.
The programme stared with an opening prayer from Rev. Father Fidelis Chife who is the President General of Nando community.
Immediately afterwards, the NOA State Director, Barr. Charles Nwoji in his welcome address spoke on Why Votes Should Count. The presentation pointed out some of the challenges that have foreclosed elections being counted in Nigeria.
The discrepancies in the voters’ registration exercise where people are faced with difficulties in their attempt to get registered he said with as a prime concern. “Either, there is no electricity to complete the process or none availability of voter’s card discourages people from participating in the election process.”
Also, the common notion expressed by the people that no matter the effort invested, votes never count, so they leave the process to hoodlums and political thugs, he explained as another challenge.
As Anambra prepares for their next election, come November 6, 2021, the hydra headed monster of security challenges currently confronting the state is at a worrisome stage and must be combated if election must count in Anambra because already there are threats of no election in the state.
Nwoji also lamented the show of shame as displayed by the judiciary in the Anambra election where politicians traversed all the court rooms in the land in want of court injunctions at whatever price and they got it even outside jurisdiction.
The situation became to embarrassing that even the Chief Justice of the Federation had to in remedying the already ugly situation, summon the judges involved for explanations.
The matter has become so bad that there is heavy lull, dispondency and stark quietness everywhere in Anambra as the process continues and in the electorates because of unending cases in the court that has resulted in them not knowing for certain who authentic party flag bearers are.
Further more, continual voters education must continue not only by the NOA but by participating parties in their own different capacities in order to wake people.up to the current realities, in order to chart a cause that will hel to enliven the process.
Therefore, for Anambra election to count, these checks must be balanced by both the electoral umpires and the people involved in all facets of the process.
Also, Sir Joe Uchendu, Deputy Director, NOA gave an illustrative lecture on the voter education for successful 2021 Governorship Election in Anambra State.
In his introduction, he took participants back to 2003, reminded them that there was an occurrence that happened and that mobilized people to the government house. By that singular event, people were able to know that there is money in governance.
Uchendu called the people’s attention to the fact that in electoral scheme, Anambra is still at the starting stage. But factually, Anambra boasts of dollar base billionaires that resides every but Anambra due to insecurity.
He lectured that the fact is that the people must rise to understand that they are the government and governance is about them, therefore stop taking unpalatable offers from the politicians.
“People must make sure that they visit INEC offices in their LGA in order to ascertain that their names are conspicuously displayed,” he instructed.
In actively participating in the electoral pocess, Uchendu advised the electorates to be informed of the process. “Awareness of your candidate of choice and his/her political party logo is paramount.”
“People must get involved to listen to electoral manifestoes in order to make informed choice while voting.”
He informed the participants that Nigeria practices open-secret ballot system as enshrined in the electoral act so, voters are allowed to isolate themselves to a reserved corner where they will quietly thumbprint without disturbance or interference.
However, he said that voting starts by 8:00am with accreditation before voting commences.
Regrettably, the issue of voided votes is widespread in every election and obviously, voided votes are more than valid votes in every Nigeria election due to lack of electoral education, hence the NOA sensitization effort.
Uchendu in the process enumerated the causes of void votes to include but not limited to signing on the ballot paper, double voting, voting beyond the provided box and vote buying, an attempt to show party agents ballot paper after voting for eligibility of paymnt.
He specified also that in an electoral process, physically challenged are allowed to vote as a matter of a must as enshrined in the electoral act.
According to Anambra election timetable, campaign will end on the November 4, 2021 before the election date.
Election rigging, vote canvasing, accepting monetray inducement, thugry, ballot box stuffing and snatching and multiple voting are the cusur to votes not counting as explained therefore, “vote and be ready to defend your vote.’ He ended.
He prayerfully concluded that in spite of the the current challenges in Anambra State, this phase must pass and Anambra must surmounted and come out better.
The INEC Deputy Officer in charge of Anambra-East Local Government Area, Perpetual Okeke in her address made a clarion call on all hands being on deck to achieve the task of making votes count. Explaining that it is not the reserved responsibility of NOA, INEC or the security personnels but women, men, clergy and even the youths but be involved too.
In the end, all the security personnel that attended the programme agreed that securing the process, lives and properties of the electorates is Paramount to Anambra election, come November 6, 2021.

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