The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said it would adopt strategic measures that would boost voter education in the country, ahead of 2019 general elections.
INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, stated this in Abuja in an interview with newsmen at the sidelines of opening of a three-day workshop for Heads of Voter Education and Publicity units.
Osaze-Uzzi said that the workshop was part of the INEC’s preparations for the 2019 general elections.
“We know the importance of communicating our policies and programmes to the stakeholders and that is why we are working to ensure that we communicate in an effective manner to increase the voter awareness.
“ We want to ensure that there is an increase in voters’ awareness and their participation in our activities and future elections,’’ he said.
On the commission’s preparation for suspended re-run elections in Rivers, Imo and other states, Osaze-Uzzi said that INEC was ready to conclude the elections given conducive environment in those states.
He said that INEC’s consultation with security agencies, political parties and their candidates, and other stakeholders, was ongoing.
“On our own part, INEC is prepared and ready in the areas of logistics, administrative and operational deployment to conduct the elections.
“But, there are factors outside INEC’s control such as conducive environment, that will determine whether INEC will go back to the states,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Nick Dazang, Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity of INEC, said that the workshop was to review the communication strategies deployed during the 2015 general elections and improve on them ahead of 2019.
Dazang said that the workshop participants would also look at the opportunities in the social media platform such as twitter, instagram, facebook and the internet to educate voters.
“As you know, more than 79 million Nigerians use the internet every day. That is more than one–third of the country’s population.
“If we can get the attention of at least 14 million of these social media users, then we should be able to succeed in our attempt and efforts to educate them about our activities.
“In spite of the fact that we recognise the potential of the new media, we are not glossing over the effect of the traditional media such as television, newspapers, radio, even using the town-criers,’’ Dazang said.
He said that the commission was also looking at the possibility of reaching out to voters using indigenous languages.
He added that recommendations from the workshop would later be forwarded to the commission for approval.