From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Ahead of the upcoming general elections in the country, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has appealed to media, political parties and the civil society organisations to collaborate with the agency in carrying out voters education, saying that out of the 29,432,083 total votes cast in the 2015 election, 884,519 invalid votes were recorded.
The Kogi State Director of NOA, Mallam Mohammed Othman Abdullahi made the appeal in Lokoja during a road show programme organised by the agency on voters education campaign against incidences of invalid votes during elections.
He pointed out that the high figure of invalid votes can be attributed to inadequate voter education and sensitization, saying NOA is fully out to change the narrative through the support and collaboration of the media, civil society organisations and other critical stakeholders in the country.
“According to INEC timetable, Presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled to hold on February 16th while the governorship and State House of Assembly elections will hold on Match 2nd, 2019 throughout the country.
“We must vote correctly so that our votes can count in the forthcoming elections to reduce the incidences of voided votes and cases of cancellation of votes and litigation would be a thing of the past.
“Voters should identify the political parties and should not vote for two parties. One thumb print in the right place on the ballot paper should be adhere to, thumbprint should not be out the space and voter should not allow any spill of ink into other space.
“Never leave your ballot paper empty and do not write or squeeze the ballot paper to avoid cancellation” the NOA state director advised.
Abdullahi who further disclosed that the sensitization campaign is simultaneously going on in all the 21 local government areas of the state, noted that with support of all the stakeholders and organisations involved in the electoral process, the 2019 election will record the lowest invalid votes.
One of the voters at Adankolo area in Lokoja Mr Peter Amos while commenting on the sensitization campaign, admitted that many eligible voters in Kogi state do not know how to cast their votes correctly, saying the sensitization campaign came at the right time.
He commended the state directorate of NOA for their effort in ensuring that people vote correctly during election, urging the agency to take the campaign to all parts of the state capital.