2023: INEC warns Nigerians against inappropriate voting
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said inappropriate marking of boxes or space provided on the ballot paper by voters may affect the outcome of the 2023 general elections.
While stressing the need for Nigerians to vote correctly on election day, the commission said voters must follow the procedure for voting for their preferred candidate or party correctly or have such votes invalidated.
INEC’s director of voter education and publicity, Victor Aluko, stated this yesterday during the final stage of the Voter Education Innovative Dragons’ Den Competition organised by Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Abuja.
The project was organised for Nigerian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to pitch innovative proposals for effective and inclusive voter education campaigns in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
Aluko, represented by the assistant director, planning and programming, voter education and publicity department in INEC, Dorathy Inyang, said the electoral body was working hard in educating and enlightening the electorates on how to effectively participate in the electoral process.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to pay attention to the manifestos of political parties and candidates for them to make informed decisions.
Aluko said: “We have released the guidelines for the elections and even the list of candidates for the presidential and national assembly elections have also been released. As you are aware, the campaign starts today, September 28, and we are telling Nigerians to pay attention to the manifesto of political parties and what each candidate has to offer so that they can make their informed choices.
“Considering the size of the nation, all hands, therefore, should be on deck to provide voter education. Top on the lists of those who are to be involved in these is registered civil society organisations who have passions in civic responsibilities to educate the citizens to be alive to their responsibilities to issues like voting”.
Asked on what were the implications of Nigerians not voting properly on election day, he stated: “It is going to have a setback on the outcome of the election because if a voter has a choice to make but while at the polling booth, he or she is unable to mark the ballot paper properly, something drastic would happen because that voter may lose his or her vote for their preferred candidate. This means they may likely allow another candidate to take over their winning candidate. So it is important that voters mark ballot papers correctly.”
Aluko disclosed that Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) for persons captured in the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise would be ready between October and November.
He said the commission would enhance greater participation of persons living with disabilities during the election.
“As it is right now, PVCs are being distributed at all INEC local government offices and there is actually a timetable, voters that registered from 2011 to January 19, 2021, their PVCs are ready because their collection started in August.
“For those who registered between June 2021, and January 2022, their PVCs would be ready next month October and for those that registered in July 2022, their PVCs would be ready in November 2022”, he added.
Deputy Country Director, IFES, Ukeh Obaje, urged INEC to improve on the successes recorded during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
He said the competition was organised to identify innovative ideas that can help improve voter education and participation in the forthcoming elections.
Obaje said: “We have a total of 20 civil Society Organisations here today. IFES had earlier in June put out a call for proposal for innovative ideas around voter education. We are looking at how we can improve voter education and participation across the country.
“We got a total of 70 applications which was pruned down to 20. We expect every organisation to make their live presentation around their ideas in which six of them, one from each geo-political zones would be selected for the project. We are also going to give them grants for them to implement their ideas.”