USAID, Palladium Group, FBFI others harp on integrity of 2023 elections

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with The Palladium Group, Food Basket Foundation International (FBFI) and other civil society  organisations, have said the integrity of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria must not be compromised for the betterment of the citizens and the legacy of our nation.

Addressing a press conference in Ibadan Oyo State, the Chief Executive Officer FBFI, Dr. Funmi Akinyele, said one of the ways to ensure the integrity of the elections is to safeguard the digital civic space, especially with the introduction of digital tools.
She warned that failure to  ensure that the integrity of the elections are not compromised, could create a serious impact, not only on this generation but the ones to come.

According to her, “Without a doubt, the integrity of the 2023 general elections will be significant in determining the future of Nigeria as an indivisible nation. Millions of Nigerians, particularly eligible voters, get their information online. Therefore, the digital civic space is expected to play a significant role in the decisions that a myriad of Nigerians will take during the presidential elections coming up in February 2023 and the gubernatorial elections in March 2023.

“It is important that the digital civic space is and must be safeguarded to enhance the integrity of the electoral process, especially with the introduction of digital tools.”

Akinyele therefore, on behalf of other collaborators enjoined Nigerians to cooperate with organisations  as they will traverse the six geo-political zones of the nation in the quest towards protecting the digital civic space by reducing the impact of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation and repression of rights to information, while simultaneously increasing voter knowledge of constitutional rights and electoral processes.

She said part of the mandate to safeguard the digital civic space is for the organisations involved in the campaign not to compromise the polls’ integrity to collect, analyze, and report data, as well as create evidence-based policy briefs and advocacy materials, and produce information sheets on protecting online civic space.

She said, “We will use hashtags to drive home this message on our social media platforms and use it for branding. The hashtags are: #ProtectYourVote9ja, #YourVoteMatters9ja and #NoToFakeNews9ja.

“These hashtags are not just for a trend that needs to be adopted but rather, are an essential component of our content strategy for this project. They will serve as a resource for monitoring the visibility of the campaign on social media platforms. The use of hashtags will help substantially increase the reach of messages on the project.”

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