As the November 16 governorship election in Anambra draws closer, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is leaving no stone unturned to halt voters’ apathy noticed in previous elections in the state.
Consequently, the Commission is embarking on massive campaign to educate the electorates across the state ahead of the gubernatorial election.
This was disclosed on Monday by INEC Resident Commissioner in Anambra state, Prof Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, at the Civil Society/INEC dialogue on Anambra state governorship election held in Abuja.
He said, “While 1.71 million people registered, only 492,750 votes were cast. Similarly in the federal constituency election, out of the 746,230 registered voters, only 244,934 votes were cast.
“In other words, only 31.2% of the registered voters voted in the federal constituency election. Out of the 607,415 registered voters in Anambra North Senatorial Zone, only 162,481 votes were cast. That is to say only 26.7% registered voters voted.
“In the Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, only 621,992 people registered to vote, however only 194,485 persons voted. That is to say only 31.3% voted. In the Anambra South Senatorial Zone, out of the 532,905 registered voters only 163,999 persons voted. In other words, only 30.8% of registered voters voted during the election.”
Prof Onukaogu, however assured stakeholders that the trend “must be halted through an appropriate voter education programme if the generality of the people of Anambra State are to begin to participate actively in elections by casting their votes.
“No matter how well prepared we are and no matter how well intentioned we as an election management body are, it is the people of Anambra State who must vote and usher in the governor. Unless the people in Anambra state turn out in mass to vote, the outcome of the election can not reflect the real choice of the people. The people of the state must be enthused to vote,” he said.
The Resident Commissioner said further that INEC in the state has “embarked on a vigorous voter education programme. We have developed a unique education package specifically tailored to empower the electorate in Anambra State to understand appropriate, value and implement all aspect s of our electoral process.
“Our voter education package is streamlined in the context of history, citizenship education, social studies and the constitution of the country (INEC, 2007, 2008).
“We have therefore, in our voter education package tried to empower the electorate in Anambra state with the knowledge, attitudes and skills for optimal and maximal operation in the electoral process and to make the electorate eager, serious and enthusiastic in participating in local, state and federal government elections,” REC said.