In a bid to ensure maximum participation of youths in the electoral process, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken its voter sensitization drive on participation in the electoral process to higher institutions with the launch of its Campus outreach program.
The Commission in partnership with Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) with support from the European Union through the European Centre for Electoral support (ECES), yesterday, also launched its Voter Education Volunteer Program at the University of Abuja.
The well attended event was brought to live by the presence of INEC Youth Ambassadors; the iconic Innocent
“2baba” Idibia, Comedian and Actress Helen Paul, and Multi-awarding winning musician and Producer, Cobhams Asuquo.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, implored the students to take the event, which was the first of its kind serious. He said “The future is actually here and you are the future. So please honor this first campus
outreach on the Continuous Voter Registration, Honor the INEC Ambassadors by ensuring that you go and register and vote.”
He announced the creation of a registration centre at the University of Abuja campus and advised students and other residents close to the campus to take advantage and register.
Professor Yakubu reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission towards ensuring that only citizen’s votes count in the 2019 general elections. “Let me give you and undertaking and a promise that in 2019 your votes will count. In 2019 only the votes cast by Nigerians will determine who wins elections,” he said.
The INEC Chairman disclosed that the Permanent Voter Cards of about 4 Million Nigerians who were captured in the CVR exercise in 2017 would be ready for collection from next week at their respective states of registration.
“For the four million voters who registered between April and December 2017, all the cards have been printed and will be delivered to the states this weekend. So, by next week, they will begin to collect their cards.
“For those who registered in first quarter of 2018 and those being captured in ongoing Continuous Voter Registration, I assure you that your cards will be available ahead of the 2019 general elections”.
Professor Yakubu further disclosed that INEC had so far registered about 8 million citizens in the CVR exercise since its commencement in April 2017. He said: “we have registered about 4 million Nigerians in 2017; in the first quarter of 2018, we registered about 2.9 million and in the four weeks of the second quarter, as at yesterday (Wednesday), we registered about 1.1 million more”.
Speaking on the Commission’s efforts at ensuring all Nigerians including Persons Living with Disabilities were carried along in the electoral process, the INEC Chairman said the Commission was working towards the production of brail ballot papers to ensure that the visually impaired voters exercise their franchise with ease.
Also, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Professor Michael Adikwu, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Edward Nwana, commended INEC for efforts to ensure that the youths are not only informed about the electoral process but carried along as well.
The VC said the Commission’s action was a further confirmation of the important role of youths in the electoral process and as future leaders.
In his remark, the European Union Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, observed that youths were inadequately represented in politics.
Ambassador Karlsen called on the youths to get registered, vote and participate in the electoral process.
The highpoint of the event was the launch of a Voter Education Volunteer Program in the University of Abuja by Professor Mahmood Yakubu. He was supported by the Youth Ambassadors present.