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National Orientation Agency begins nationwide enlightenment to reduce void votes

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[FILES] Election

• Anglican to hold debate for Lagos governorship candidates
• Muslims set agenda for candidates

National Orientation Agency (NOA) has mobilised its staff across the country for sensitisation campaigns aimed at reducing void ballots during the general elections.

The director-general, Garba Abari, who disclosed this at a briefing yesterday in Abuja, lamented that elections in Nigeria had been characterised by large number of void votes.

He explained that the national campaign would be flagged off tomorrow in Owerri, Imo State capital.

“It is quite often the case that a lot of our voters, especially in the rural areas, are not exposed to adequate continuous voter education, to equip them with the knowledge to exercise their franchise by voting correctly.

“Many of our voters express frustration that their votes will not count. This, no doubt, contributes to voter apathy and low turnout during elections.

“It is in recognition of these challenges and indeed the bitterness and rancour that void votes lead to that NOA is commencing a nationwide campaign against void ballots,” he said.

Abari added that the agency had been making concerted efforts through its various sensitisation programmes to ensure enduring peace across the country.

Similarly, the Anglican Church is organising a debate for governorship candidates in Lagos State.

Bishop of Lagos West (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. James Odedeji, told journalists in Lagos yesterday that the debate would hold on January 14 at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral (AVMCC), GRA Ikeja.

According to him, 10 candidates have already indicated interest in the debate.

Since 2007, the diocese has been organising the debate and no governor has emerged without passing through the debate, he added.

In the same vein, Muslim Community of Lagos State has demanded people-oriented policies and efficient management of resources from the next governor of the state.

The president, Tajudeen Gbadamosi, at a special meeting with the candidates in Lagos yesterday, appealed to the incoming government to imbibe the culture of fairness and equity in the distribution of resources, to engender sustainable development in the state.

Noting the alarming rate of unemployment in the country, he tasked the prospective leader on equal opportunity to all and sundry, irrespective of religion or tradition.


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