#YouthVotesCount CAMPUS OUTREACH
The INEC #YouthVotesCount University Campus outreach train finally came to a halt. The event was organised within the framework of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) programme by INEC with technical assistance from the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), partnership with YIAGA and funding from the European Union. The event took place on the 6th November, 2018 at the Princess Alexandria Hall, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
This was the 6th in a series of engagement with the Nigerian students’ community that saw the Commission, European Union, ECES, YIAGA and other critical stakeholders tour select Universities within the six geo-political zones of the country in the last 6 months. The event which started in the University of Abuja was replicated in the University of Lagos (South-West Zone), Bayero University, Kano (North-West zone), University of Port Harcourt (South-South zone), MAUTECH University, Yola (North-East zone) and culminated in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (South-East zone).
The objective of the campaign was to increase the level of youth, women, Persons With Disabilities and other vulnerable groups participation in elections as well as boost citizens trust and confidence in the electoral process. It is expected that the program will increase the enthusiasm of young people to participate in the electoral process by participating in the CVR and PVC distribution exercise.
The South-East town hall meeting featured pep talks, panel discussion and music performances. The panel discussion featured popular celebrities and youth champions, INEC Youth Ambassador, Innocent ‘2Baba’ Idibia, award winning R &B artiste, Bankole ‘Banky W’ Wellington, Award winning female artiste Chidinma Ekile, Award winning OAP and Big Brother Naija host Ebuka Uchendu and was moderated by multi-award winning OAP and former Big Brother Africa winner, Uti Nwachukwu to inspire young people to perform their civic duty informed by the dynamic nature of the youth demography which requires using creative tools that appealed to them and inspires them to participate actively in the electoral process. Past outreaches also in addition to the above celebrities featured Waje, Basket Mouth, Korede Bello, Ayo ‘AY’ Makun, Nafisat Mohammed, Mohammed ‘El-Yakub’ Yakubu, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Seun Okinbaloye, Gimba Umar, Jude M.I Abaga, Cobhams Asuquo and Helen Paul.
The program leveraged on the youth pop culture, demography, resilience and energy for electoral education. Primarily, the program focused on the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and collection of Permanent Voter Card (PVC). It also provided a platform for instilling the values of patriotism, volunteerism, civic participation and non-violence in young people.
The Youth Vote Count campaign was taken to selected tertiary institutions across the federation. It featured panel discussions, community outreach activities, social media campaigns and volunteers’ recruitment.
The Specific Objectives were:
1. To enlighten young people on their roles in the electoral process;
2. Mobilize young people especially first-time voters to participate in the continuous voter registration process and permanent voter card collection exercise;
3. To provide a platform for engagement between INEC and young people on preparations for the 2019 elections;
4. Inspire and recruit youth as volunteers to act as vanguards of voter education, electoral integrity and peaceful elections.
At the end of the event, the following results were achieved;
1. Increased turnout of youths for the CVR and PVC collection exercise in outreach locations
2. The knowledge of young people on the electoral process is improved
3. Young people enthusiastically sign up to volunteer for voter education, electoral integrity and peaceful elections
4. The confidence of young people in the electoral process is boosted
On the sidelines of the town hall, a voter education booth camp/desk will be created for INEC to provide additional information on electoral process as well as process complaints and enquiries on the voter registration amongst other things. Students will be given volunteer pledge cards or sign up forms.
At the end of this unique and innovative voter education outreach event, we secured the commitment of Nigerian youths to go out and get actively involved in the electoral process by registering to vote, collecting their Permanent Voters Card, voting on election day, protecting their votes and ensuring a peaceful election through non-violent conduct.
The event had in attendance the Hon. INEC Chairman represented by Barr. Festus Okoye, The Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, The Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Petril, INEC Senior Management staff, Resident Electoral Commissioners from the South-Eastern states and over 3000 students.
#EU4DemocracyNG #YouthVotesCount #electoralassistance #DemocracySupport #Inclusion