By Ramatu Garba
The Director -General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, has called on Nigerians to shun all forms of electoral violence during the March 18 gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls.
Abari made the call on Thursday in Kano during a media dialogue.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the dialogue was to present a report on the agency’s interventions before, during and after the Feb. 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
Abari disclosed that the agency had organised political parties’ summit on peace building, media engagements on sensitive reporting, as well as advocacy visits to traditional and religious leaders to ensure fair and violence-free polls.
“Over the years, NOA has acquired a reputation for grassroots enlightenment and mobilisation in the area of voter education,” Abari said.
According to him, NOA mobilised its officers across the 774 local government areas, pointing out that the personnel visited markets, motor parks, palaces and worship centres to enlighten the people on the need for violence-free elections.
“The voter education was targeted at having massive voter registration, peaceful elections, inclusion of women and people with special needs, PVCs collection, explaining the new electoral act and urging them to shun electoral corruption and voter apathy.
“Fifty jingles in many languages were sent out to traditional institutions, religious leaders, pressure groups and all relevant stakeholders to prevail on them to seek peaceful elections,” he said.
The director-general called on elder statesmen, patriots and women to rise and be counted, saying, “we must all be sensitive and careful about our utterances.”
Abari said NOA had through the social media set up a whistle-blowing platform, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to expose electoral corruption and to campaign against vote buying and selling.
He observed that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections were delayed by the late arrival of election materials across some polling units.
Abari noted that journalists had critical roles to play in maintaining peace and stability in the country and promoting democracy by educating the public on how to vote and shun voter apathy.
“I am appealing to journalists not to relent in serving our dear country,” he urged.
NAN reports that the media dialogue was attended by the Kano State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Abbas Ibrahim, Chairman, Kano State Correspondents Chapel, Mr. Ibrahim Garba-Shua’ibu and journalists from the print, broadcast and online media.