By Eunice Nnachi, Yenagoa
The Nigerian Women Trust Fund, NWTF, in collaboration with the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, has urged Electoral stakeholders in Bayelsa, to ensure adequate voter education is extended to the women, underrepresented youths and persons with disabilities.
The program tagged, “Training of trainers (TOT) on Continuous Voter Education” held at Doncont Home and Apartment, Bay Bridge, Yenagoa, was made possible with funding from the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN)
The three-day training of trainers in Bayelsa with 25 participants is EU-SDGN Support to women political participation and also against the backdrop of growing concern about the increase in women’s voting apathy and inactive participation in electoral process.
According to Mufuliat Fijabi, NWTF Chief Executive Officer, the TOT Continuous Voter Education program is to promote more women participation in the electoral process especially in the build up to the Bayelsa off-cycle November 11 Governorship election.
Fijabi stressed the need for trainers who have been trained, to aquinct themselves of necessary plans and arrangements, “by organizing the training sessions with planning, choosing the location, ensuring security of lives, proper transportation arrangement , provision of refreshments, selection of adequate date and time for participants considering their daily activities.
“Familiarizing yourself with the training manual in advance, helps to ensure smooth management and minimize the risk of unexpected issues.
“Nigerian women with proper voter education training should be able to understand and value electoral process, know her rights and responsibilities, general voting procedures, and feel motivated to make informed decisions while selecting her preferred candidate,” she said.
The INEC, representative, Mrs Victoria Ogbo said the aim of the TOT is to familiarize participants with voter education and necessary knowledge to conduct forums at local levels.
Ogbo note that, for an election to be successful and democratic, voters must be aware of their rights and responsibilities, have the knowledge to vote legally and actively participate in the electoral process.
She said continuous voter education helps, “to create awareness about the electoral process, promote mass participation and increase voter turnout reduce the number of invalid ballots, and impact knowledge on how to participate in electoral processes.
“It builds confidence and trust in the electoral process and the Election Management Body, encourage attitudes and behaviors that contribute to peaceful and fair elections, free from cheating.
She therefore, called on trainers to apply proper voter education strategies in distributing information, resources and programs aimed at educating the voters during the election process.
The Eunice Nnachi Women Advocacy Foundation, ENWAF, International federation of female lawyers, FIDA, Starz Safety Initiative, SSI were among the gender Civil society organizations (CSOs) in attendance.