Religious, community leaders empowered with election reportage skills for peaceful election process
As the 2023 general election approaches, Community Life Project has empowered religious and community leaders at the grassroots with civic and voter education to ensure a peaceful poll.
Participants at the training were Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), The Criterion, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) and Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women). They were trained on how to give situational report of the electoral process in their communities.
Speaking during the interfaith town hall meeting, The Amirah FOMWAN, Lagos State, Alhaja Sherifat Ajagbe, commended efforts of the organisers for fostering interfaith peace, saying that peaceful transition has to happen in the coming election and religious leaders have critical roles to play in ensuring it happened.
“If the voting system were perfectly done, people would vote wisely, the election will be free and fair and the right candidate will emerge. We must see ourselves as brothers and sisters when selecting leaders, as good leadership has no tribe or religion. FOMWAN support a just and peaceful process that reflects the will of the people,” Ajagbe said.
She urged electorate to participate actively in the electioneering process with the fear of Allah (SWT), so as to have outcome that will be credible.
“Let’s endeavour to get our Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and go out to vote according to our conscience and abide by INEC guidelines.”
The trainer,Rev. Kehinde Babarinde said the training is a form of civil and political education for a community life project that seeks to reclaim Nigeria for good.
“The essence of the programme is to educate religious leaders, to be honest in their reporting of elections. They are independent citizens observing the election to ensure things are done in the right way and they are to report accurately,” Babarinde said.
He urged observers to abstain from spreading false information and rumours that are not verified, as this could cause confusion and possibly violence.
“Observers are not expected to post any confusion but ensure things as arranged. However, we must reemphasise that our populace is not well educated about election matters and so, religious leaders in churches and mosques are to educate them on the peaceful electioneering process.
Babarinde advised the observers not to violate INEC guidelines or spread hatred of others’ religious beliefs or ethnicity.
“The training will inculcate harmonious relationships and non-discriminatory principles that accept every electorate as authentic Nigeria. The observers are independent religious leaders who seek a harmonious peaceful electoral process. These observers are to observe and report accurately what happen in polling units.”
FOMWAN Naibah Amirah and Vocal Person For Election, FOMWAN Lagos State, Alhaja Amudat Olaonipekun, said the training is to sensitise religious and community leaders on their responsibility during the election to avoid overheating the polity.
“We gathered the leaders here to promote the importance of ensuring good governance. Nigerians should get their PVCs, go out and vote wisely to bring credible leaders to power.
She also urged election observers to be security conscious, and deviate from reporting false information.
“The observers should endeavour to report with pictorial evidence to avoid misinformation that can cause confusion. Being observers does not stop you from voting, every vote count. It is part of our civic right to be part of good governance,” she said.
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