2019 poll: NOA, INEC collaborate to reduce void, invalid votes
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Thursday says it would leave no stone unturned in its partnership with relevant stakeholders to eliminate high incident of wasteful votes during elections.
Mr Olusegun Adeyemi, the Agency's Director in Kwara State, made the assertion during a Voter Education Forum organized in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission in Omu-Aran, Kwara.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum which was held at the palace of Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, attracted party leaders, supporters, religious leaders, security agents, market leaders and other stakeholders.
The forum in Omu-Aran, headquarters of Irepodun Local Government Area of the State was also held simultaneously in Owu-Isin, Iloffa and Osi, the headquarters of Isin, Oke-Ero and Ekiti LGAs in Kwara South Senatorial District.
Adeyemi who decried the incessant occurrence of void, rejected and invalid votes during past elections, said the menace constituted a stumbling block toward advancing the nation's electoral system in aligning with global best practices.
He said the organization of the forum was in line with the agency's mandate of reawakening Nigerians, especially eligible voters, to their patriotic duties and active participation in nation building.
"In pursuant of this mandate the agency has been going out , across the country to sensitise Nigerians on various pertinent issues that will ensure a productive , reliable, free and fair 2019 general elections.
"Today our focus is on the very important issue of maximum reduction of void votes, which has become a recurring decimal in electoral process as a nation," he said.
Mr Abuonum Ufenne, the INEC's Electoral Officer in Omu-Aran, in a remark, described occurrence of void votes as when a voter thump print on a party logo instead of the box provided, thump printing in an unclear manner and casting a blank ballot paper.
Others are smearing ballot papers with ink or squeezing it, thump printing in a manner that makes voters decision unclear as well as writing or signing on a ballot paper.
Ufenne, who used the opportunity to appeal for stakeholders’ partnership toward sustaining the nation's democratic system also expressed the commission's readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible elections.
Alhaji Sodiq Afolayan, the Chief Imam of Omu-Aran Central mosque and Elder Gabriel Awolaoye, Public Relations Officer of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Irepodun LGA chapter, in their separate remarks, urged youths to be promoter of peace and unity at all times.
Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, on his part, pledged the support of the traditional institution toward ensuring a violence free and credible poll.
He advised religious leaders and parents to be alive to their responsibilities through their preaching and parental counselling in modeling the lives of the younger generation for them to effectively assume the mantle of leadership in the nearest future. (NAN)