Enlightening Citizens for 2019 General Elections
Bertolt Brecht said, “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life”. To create a society that is devoid of such people, SSDO through her Awakening project embarked on political sensitization of the populace in the 5 South East States gearing towards 2019 elections. The sensitization which targeted the traditional rulers, religious leaders, women and youth groups was focused on enlightening them on why and how they should vote to avoid voting errors that may lead to void vote (invalid vote), why they should not sell their votes, come out en-masse to vote and avoid being used to perpetuate violence during elections.
Some of the issues flagged as red points during the voter sensitisation included but not limited to; voter apathy, ignorance on how to vote, vote trading, thuggery, ballot box snatching, gender problem in communities (where women feel politics is for men and vice versa), etc with poverty being described as the major cause of the whole problem in Nigeria. The sensitization was also marked with activities which involved awareness creation and campaigns like roadshows and rallies, workshops and advocacy visits to key places in communities.
This was carried out in partnership with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and some CSOs in the South East State.
The community members were sensitized on:
- the power of their vote and the need for them to come out enormously and vote.
- the need for them to desist from vote trading, thuggery, hate speech, electoral violence and all forms of electoral malpractice.
- the seven steps to vote casting.
- the use of cellphones or carrying of huge amount of money within the polling unit.
In addition, IEC materials were distributed to enhance voter education and awareness of the SSDO’s “The Awakening program” was made with special reference to the February 15th2019 edition which will focus on “Voter education” with guest speakers from INEC Nigeria.
As part of the post election activities, South Saharan Social Development Organization conducted an analysis of the elections; through opinions of citizens and providing a platform for them to share their experiences.
Through The Awakening radio broadcast, citizens pointed out the need for a better organised elections, where the card reader works well and INEC provides electoral materials in time.