Awka – The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Anambra State says it is committed to mobilizing at least, 2.3 million registered voters in Anambra, to vote in the November 6 governorship election.
The State Director of NOA, Barr Charles Nwoji disclosed this in a chat with TNC correspondent in Awka, on the activities of the Agency preparatory to the election.
According to statistics, there were about 2.5 million registered voters in Anambra State as at the last Governorship election in the state in 2017.
However, only about 447,000 voters participated in the voting process, representing only about 18 percent of the registered voters’ population.
According to Nwoji, the figure as it is, is worrisome, considering the fact that not all persons of voting age are presently captured in the voter register already.
This figure he said, shows massive voter apathy in the state, which usually creates the opportunity for electoral malpractice.
He said the Agency has commenced activities at galvanizing its staff to drive adequate mobilization of the citizens at the grassroots, to participate in the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise coming up soon, as well as other processes in the build-up to the November poll.
“We have commenced the galvanizing of our Community and Orientation and Mobilization Officers as to what their roles are in mobilizing the people to participate in the electoral process. Very soon, our sensitization and mobilization activities will commence across the LGAs and Communities. Beyond that, we have made links with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in the state, to synergize in educating the people on what is required of them for a successful conduct of the off-season governorship election in Anambra State. As the number one government agency responsible for educating the citizenry, we are committed to effectively sensitizing the various stakeholders- the electorate, the political parties, the umpire and the security agencies on their roles in achieving the desired result,” he said.
Nwoji commended the initiative by INEC to expand voter access with the conversion of voting points to polling centres, noting that it will complement efforts by the agency to ensure that a reasonable number of voters participate in the election.
“Cast your mind back and know that the voting pattern being used now is the one established in 1996. So, INEC was right in expanding voter access. Voting centres that had very large numbers were broken down and those in very difficult to reach areas even shrines were relocated. It is my view that this exercise will help efforts at achieving impressive turnout at the polling units,” Nwoji said.
On the threat by some quarters that the November elections will not hold, the Anambra NOA state Director, regretted that the implication is usually apathy, noting that at no time had elections not held in the country because of such threats.
“This is not the first time such a threat is seen in Anambra. In 2017, there was such threat. Same was the case in 2019 general election. However, we have noticed that these threats do not eventually materialize, in that elections are not held. What usually happen is that we witness voter apathy because people will be scared so as not to encounter any dangers. That is why we are committed to intensifying our mobilization and engagement activities with the communities, to ensure that out of the 2.5 million registered voters in the state, at least 2.3 persons vote in the election. We believe that if we get the necessary support from stakeholders and agencies, this can be achieved,” the Anambra NOA director enthused.