INEC CHAIRMAN PROFESSOR JEGA CALLS FOR YOUTHS PARTICIPATION IN ELECTION
Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has charged Nigerian youths to rise to the task of promoting good governance in the country by ensuring they vote credible candidates at the polls.
Professor Jega said this at the First National INEC Youth Summit held in Abuja this week.
Represented by Dr. Chris Iyimoga, National Commissioner Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Professor Jega in his speech, said the summit was a series of engagement with critical stakeholders and electoral process where the youths are informed on what the commission is doing, and the innovations that have been introduced to ensure conduct of the next election is hitch free.
He said further that democracy can only develop when all segment of the society are free to participate actively in the electoral process and to influence political anchor without bias.
Dr. Iyimoga explained that the fight for independence in Nigeria was led by youth movements which includes Herbert Macaulay; Zik Movement founded by Late Dr Nnamdi Azikwe; Egbe Omo Oduduwa by Late Obafemi Awolow and Samuel Akintola in the late 1940s.
His words: “The historic act of our past leaders like Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro and other youths who were less than 40 years old when they began the struggle for national independence has become bedrock for national polity of which became bedrock for good governance.”
The INEC Commissioner stressed further that the commission recognises the critical role young people play in democracy. He said since 2011, INEC has been engaging members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as election and registration officers.
“As future leaders, you can determine what Nigeria will be. The great process of strengthening electoral process is critically needed,” Dr Iyimoga said.
Consolidating on the 2011 post-election violence, the INEC Commissioner reiterated that it remains an experience the nation is not proud of and the commission is doing everything possible to ensure there is no repeat of such incident in the country.
In the same vein, the commission revealed plans to establish partnership with youth groups that will mobilize young people for elections in their local communities, and enhance the electoral knowledge especially in the area of registering their displeasures during and after election.
The commission believes that youths participation in election is the right way to encourage many youths from different part of the country to participate in election.
Dr. Iyimoga also used the summit to dispel rumours of election rigging at the polls.
“One of the major changes that have been introduced is the use of technology. In the 2015 general elections, we are going to use Radio Frequency Identification Signals (RSID), and card readers to verify the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) before the electorates will be allowed to vote.
“The PVC with the Voters card will enable Nigerians to cast their vote without any fear of duplication of rigging. It is going to be nearly impossible for elections to be rigged again in Nigeria, but this can only be possible with the support from me and you,” Iyimoga mentioned.