Elumelu canvasses citizens’ sensitisation, active participation in electoral process
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, yesterday, canvassed robust sensitisation of citizens to engender mass participation of eligible voters in Nigeria’s electoral process.
Elumelu stressed that this was necessary for quality representation, leadership, reformed electoral system and good governance in the country.
He gave the charge while speaking on The Role Of Enhanced Electoral Awareness In Improving Quality Of Leadership In Nigeria at a dinner to close the fifth Biennial Convention of Class of 84 of St. Pius’ Grammar School, Onicha-Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Council of Delta State, which held at Umunede, Ika North-East Council.
Elumelu, who represents Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, stressed the need for sustained awareness drive to ensure active participation of over 80 per cent of registered voters in the electoral process.
He noted that the quality of leadership was determined by informed choices of the electorate regarding the electoral value of candidates and their political parties, as against primordial tribal, religious, partisan and pecuniary considerations.
He also harped on the increasing necessity of citizens to utilise governance to their advantage by holding leaders accountable at all times, adding that political alienation and voter suppression were prevalent in the country’s electoral process due to inadequate sensitisation and mobilisation of voters.
Elumelu also lamented absence of strong electoral laws, lack of credible, free, fair, transparent elections and incompetent, weak, ill-equipped and unreliable electoral umpire.
“Dearth of model leaders, insecurity, disorderly and violent political campaigns, unfulfilled electoral promises and disregard for rule of law and partisan mass media are also responsible for a flawed electoral system,” he added.
He said besides government agencies, political parties and the media, critical stakeholders, civil society organisations, educational institutions, faith-based organisations, community unions and traditional institutions should collaborate to drive value-driven electoral awareness.
“Efforts must be made for massive mobilisation towards voter registration. The current continuous voter registration must be maximised; a target of above 80 per cent of eligible voting population should be achieved by 2023.
“Citizens must be more conversant with provisions of the constitution and the Electoral Act, especially on their rights to electoral and governance processes, including areas that grant them power to hold leaders accountable.
“Such awareness will enable them to participate in efforts geared towards good governance, including setting desired standards for electoral worthiness, as well as preferred amendments in the law to guarantee free, fair, credible elections and responsive leadership that is accountable to the citizens,” he stated.
Elumelu added that members of the opposition in the House said citizens should be encouraged to demand that candidates’ antecedents, qualifications, indices of electoral value and political parties be made public and scrutinised, alongside their manifestoes during pre-election debates.
Highpoint of the event was awards to some personalities, including a post-humous award to the Principal of Class of 84, the late Paul Mozea, in recognition of his contributions to their academic development and lifting of members.
Elumelu was honoured for his commitment to the development of his constituency and support for the association, while Maj-Gen. Lawrence Fejokwu, Brig-Gen. Raymond Ochei, Augustine Omordi, Afam Okika and Francis Oshai were recognised for their contributions to humanity.
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