Voter apathy: NGO takes sensitisation campaign to grassroots

The Golden Star Initiative, LEAP Africa, an NGO, in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation and Ford Foundation, has taken sensitisation against “voter apathy” to rural areas of Kebbi State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation and mobilisation, which targeted youths and women, is aimed at reducing voter apathy during the upcoming general elections.

NAN also reports that the NGO is currently operating similar exercise in Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina States.

The Executive Director of the NGO, Dr Anas Gusau, disclosed this at a sensitisation programme held in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.

Gusau noted with dismay that despite the fact that about 42.5 million population of youths registered for 2019 general elections, only bout 28 per cent of them came out to exercise their civic responsibility.

He said the NGO, in collaboration with civil society groups, security agencies, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders was out to correct the apathy through mobilisatuon and sensitisation of youths and women ahead of 2023 general elections.

Gusau attributed voter apathy to distrust in the electoral process, inaccuracies in voter register, poor voter mobilisation, threats of violence, bad governance and militarisation of election, among others.

“The reversal of this trend could be achieved with political mobilisation strategy premised on innovation, inclusion, collaboration, consistency and context-specific interventions,” he said.

Gusau said record show that youths voter registration stood at 50,225,329 out of the total of 93,522,272, which was against youths participation in 2019 general elections that produced 12,192,850 in presidential election and 12,670,153 in the governorship elections.

“The project is set to mobilise young voters to register, collect PVCs and vote in the 2023 general elections using traditional and non-traditional tools of political mobilisation.

“The project focuses on four states in the Northwest region of Nigeria with low voter registration and PVC rates and ultimately targets increasing voter turnout in Nigerian elections.

“We intend to mobilise 60 per cent of young registered voters to participate in the electoral process,” he assured.

The Leader of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Kebbi state, Malam Ibrahim Ngaski, linked voter apathy to bad governence and distrust of electoral process by the youths.

He observed that the practical way forward was for the young voters to collect their PVCs, come out enmass to vote the right candidates of their choice during the forthcoming elections.

Ngaski suggested that usage of radio and television stations should be adopted in mobilising the young voters ahead of the 2023 general elections.

On his part, the Chairman, IPAC in Kebbi State, Malam Ibrahim Muhammad, identified bad governance and failed promises as some of the causes of distrust of electoral process and voter apathy by the young voters.

He advised young voters not to be discouraged, instead, they should be courageous enough to collect their PVCs and come out en-mass to exercise their civic responsibility by electing credible candidates of their choice.

Earlier, the State Chairperson of FOMWAN, Hajiya Hauwa Abubakar, promised to join forces with the NGO, CSOs and other stakeholders for adequate mobilisation of young voters especially at the grassroots with a view to changing voter apathy ahead of 2023 general elections in the state.

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