On 16th February 2018, exactly one year to the 2019 general elections, active citizens trooped out in 16 states – Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Imo, Kano, Kogi, Plateau, Niger, Yobe and the FCT for a mass voter mobilization campaign to encourage active participation in the forthcoming elections.
The campaign which was organized by Enough is Enough Nigeria was supported by partners across the country namely – Reclaim Naija, Connected Development (CODE), 2Baba Foundation, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Nigeria First, Afterschool Centre for Career Development (ACCD), Participation Initiative for Behavioral Change in Development (PIBCID), Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Awka, and Journalists Initiative for Youth Empowerment (Ji4Ye). The Abuja rally was led by an individual, Aisha Yesufu.
Elections in Nigeria have often been marred by gross voter apathy, causing low turnout of eligible voters. Also, there is apparently a communication gap between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and citizens on the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise. These are the issues the One Voice campaign sought to address, and it did just that.
Two of Enough is Enough Nigeria’s RSVP ambassadors namely; BankyW and 2Baba – were part of the rally in Lagos. BankyW encouraged citizens to register instead of complaining. ‘Before you tweet, before you post on Instagram, before you open your mouth to complain, register to vote’, he said.
Enough is Enough Nigeria’s Executive Director, Yemi Adamolekun, stated that the campaign was not meant to tackle the government but to sensitive citizens on the CVR exercise. ‘One voice is not a march against the government, it’s a peaceful march to encourage Nigerians to register and vote’, she said.
Aisha Yesufu, who led the rally in Abuja said ‘Don’t allow voter apathy to continue to control you, because bad people get into office when people do not come out to vote’ in her charge to Nigerians.
Feedback revealed that citizens are experiencing difficulties at various INEC registration centers. The exercise has been marred by complaints of long queues, shortage of equipment/manpower and unprofessional conduct of some INEC staff. Information on how to go about locating INEC designated centers was distributed and emphasis was made on the value of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC). The march ended at INEC’s office in some states (Lagos, Ogun, Kogi and Anambra) and these issues were relayed to the officials who received the different groups.
The highpoint of the march in Lagos was the launch of the 100k challenge with the aim to mobilize 1 million new voters for the 2019 elections. According to BankyW, ‘Nigeria is our country and it’s our responsibility to elect responsible and credible leaders to make it work’.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!