The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, says credible, free and fair elections will help enthrone and strengthen good governance in Nigeria.
Deryck Fritz, Chief Technical Advisor, Elections, of the body, stated this on Monday at a workshop tagged: “2023 General Election: Capacity Building Workshop for Voter Education Providers”, in Calabar.
He stated that elections can only be said to be credible, free and fair when voters fully and freely participate in the electoral process.
Mr Fritz said that the essence of the workshop was for the people to be properly informed and guided on the electoral process for them to make informed choices.
According to him, the outcome of well organised elections will be viewed as legitimate and this will strengthen the social contract and governance.
“We are aware that democratic elections can contribute to the advancement of Nigeria’s development aspirations and this can only be possible if voters can participate fully and freely in the electoral process.
“To do this, citizens must have the information at their disposal that can facilitate their choice of representatives,’’ he said.
The chief advisor pointed out that credible voters education would assist to counter disinformation, reduce the number of invalid votes and build trust and credibility in the overall process.
Speaking, Dr Johnson Alalibo, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Cross River, urged the participants to apply their experience in the workshop to ensure that Nigerian voters were abreast with the guidelines on voting during elections.
“It is my belief that this training inspires ideas and discussions around the ways to effectively educate the Nigerian voter,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission enjoys more public confident because of the technology deployed in recent polls.
Represented by Chukwuemeka Ogboaja, Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Yakubu noted that INEC’s hope is to build on public confidence going into the 2023 general elections.
He said that enhanced technology in addition to the amended electoral law, has made it impossible for anybody, including staff of the commission, to manipulate the process.
“What we are trying to reduce now is the number of invalid ballots as public confident in the commission has improved.
“The whole process will be in a mess if there is no confidence in the system,’’ he said.
No fewer than 70 participants, drawn from the South-South States, participated in the workshop which INEC facilitated in partnership with the UNDP.