Mass Voter Education Underway in Osun State with Support from DGDAug 7, 2014
As the People of Osun State prepare to go to the polls on Saturday 9th August 2014 to elect a new Governor, about 360 voters educators are currently deployed across the State conducting voter education using different formats and means of communication. The voter education messages are centered on mandate protection and issue-based and non-violent election. Community outreaches programs are being conducted through radio and television shows. Rallies are also being held across the State, in small rural communities as well as in constituency wards sensitizing voters on their rights and also on the need to maintain peace and order during and after the election.
The DGD team joined one of the rallies to sound the opinion of the people who lined up the streets and the village parks to listen to the voter education messages. All the people interviewed hailed the civic education exercise as extremely important to enriching their understanding of the voting process. They also said the civic education has helped widened their scopes on mandate protection and the need for a violent free election.
One old man who was dancing with young people at a rally in Ilesa town just some few kilometers from the State Capital Osogbo, said of the voter education: "This is a good initiative to help local people understand that voting is all about making a choice in a peaceful manner. If we had this kind of sensitization programs in previous elections, the violence we witnessed would have been avoided. I thank the funders and initiators of this voter education exercise for a job well done."
The voter education being conducted by local CSOs is supported by the Democratic Governance for Development in Nigeria (DGD) as part of its mandate protection to promote credible, transparent and sustainable electoral processes, as well as strengthening the channels of civic engagement to improve democratic governance. Prior to the deployment of voter educators, the DGD supported a training on critical issues regarding voter education and election observation.
Speaking at the training grounds, Mr Kabura Zakama, the Civil Society National Expert at the DGD, representing Dr Mourtada Deme, the Project Director, said the DGD was proud to contribute its quota to helping voters in Osun State make informed choices on voting day thanks to the intense voter education being conducted across the State.
"DGD supported a similar activity in Ekiti State which contributed to a mass turnout of voters in that State. We believe that with the knowledge imparted to you today, you will also work harder to contribute your quota through your voter education messages for people to turn out in their large numbers to vote peacefully in Osun State" Mr Zakama said.
The Democratic Governance for Development in Nigeria (DGD) is supporting several initiatives across Nigeria with the ultimate purpose of deepening democracy in the country. The project is funded by international partners such as the European Union, the UK Department for International Development (UKAid), the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and UNDP.