June 14, 2024

The Daily Vendor

Nigeria Digital Newspaper

Stop misinforming citizens, arm yourselves with electoral laws – PAACA tells stakeholders

2 min read

Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA) has expressed worry over poor knowledge of the Electoral Act by critical stakeholders despite its availability in the public space.

Executive Director, PAACA, Ezenwa Nwagwu stated this on Thursday in Awka during a Citizens Town Hall Meeting on Electoral Reform, supported by MacArthur Foundation.

He said inadequate education and knowledge of the Electoral Act 2022 contributed largely to controversies in the 2023 general elections. 

He however argued that despite controversies surrounding the polls, there were areas of recorded successes which would only be improved upon.

He said, “Poor knowledge of the Electoral Act created lots of serious controversies during and after the 2023 general elections.

“Election is a law-guided activity and you cannot participate in election without understanding the law or legal framework guiding it. 

“We discovered that many people, including critical stakeholders talk about elections in ignorance with lots of misinformation. They depend on gossips and social media for information.

“Just as Christians have a copies of the Bible to guide them and Muslims have the Quran to guide them, so also citizens should have a copy of the Electoral Act, study and apply it.

“This is why we are holding this town hall forum in all the 36 states and FCT to bridge the gap by popularising knowledge of electoral framework as well as draw suggestions and ideas to reform and improve our electoral processes.

“The forum will also empower traditional rulers, community leaders, civil society organisations, religious leaders and the media to deepen the understanding of the Electoral Act 2022 ahead of next elections.”

Assuring distribution of abridged electronic copy of the Act to empower stakeholders with adequate knowledge, Nwagwu expressed optimism that such measures would assist them speak authoritatively about election process and educate the citizens better.

“We believe that this forum will drive the change and reforms in the society especially issues around elections and good governance,” he said.

Earlier, Programme Manager, Isaiah Amonye said the workshop was targeted at harvesting the gains and areas of improvement ahead future elections in Nigeria. 

“The objective of the meeting is to foster inclusive dialogue among citizens from varied backgrounds concerning electoral reforms and constitutional amendments.

“The forum is expected to enhance public understanding and awareness regarding electoral reform; as well as compile and present citizen-derived recommendations to the National Assembly and INEC for consideration.

“The meeting will also provide all stakeholders with the opportunity of making relevant contributions that will strengthen the country electoral process ahead of future elections,” he added.

Traditional and Religious leaders, Security 

Agencies, National Orientation Agency, representative of Ohaneze Ndigbo and Civil Society Organizations were among the stakeholders that graced the meeting.

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