INEC: Okoye list measures the commission has applied to deal with Voter apathy


Festus Okoye, the Commissioner for Information and Voter Education for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has identified some of the measures the commission is using to deal with the issue of voter apathy.

As a guest in a talk show on Thursday organised by BudgIT, a Nigerian civic organisation that applies technology for citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change, Okoye agreed that voter apathy was indeed a serious concern for the commission.

This voter apathy comes from general insecurity within the country, especially as INEC offices get burned down by desperate politicians; others are the huge number of uncollected permanent voter cards (PVCs), logistical challenges affecting the distribution of the PVCs, and the lack of interest as a result of unfulfilled promises by politicians.

The commissioner admitted that the voter apathy was due to a trust deficit issue, a problem that the commission has and is still dealing with. He said that the commission was doing a lot to increase voter confidence in the process and encourage voters to engage in it again.

Read also: Group urges FG, INEC to ensure 2023 general election holds

“The issue of voter apathy is a very worrisome issue, and I think it is an issue that all Nigerians should be concerned about,” he said. “However, before I respond, I want to say that I completely agree that there is a trust deficit, and when there is a trust deficit, people find it difficult to engage in the process, and rather than engaging in it, they disengage from it.

Some of the measures he said the commission was using to deal with voter apathy are the creation of more polling units and the removal of polling units from places of religious worship.

He also admitted that the ENDSARS protest prompted many changes in the commission, the majority of which were aimed at young people.”Coming out of the ENDSARS protest, INEC created an online voter registration centre that would allow for pre-registration. That was why you saw the surge in terms of new voters, especially among young men and women,” he said.

The third most significant measure was the introduction of the Bimodal Voter System (BVS), which is targeted at dealing with the issues of identity theft and underage voters.

He said, “We have also made sure we remove some identity theft from our electoral process, and that is why we introduced the Bimodal Voter System (BVS), which uses both finger print technology and facial technology for voter accreditation.

So these are some of the things we have done to engage voter participation.”



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