Ondo 2024: INEC holds Implementation Meeting with Electoral Officers, Assistants to boost Voters’ participation

By: Farouk Atanda

As preparations for the November 16, 2024 Governorship election in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has organised an implementation meeting with its Electoral Officers and their Assistants across the 18 Local government areas of the state.

Addressing participants at the meeting held in Akure, the State capital, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC)in Ondo State, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola said the meeting was part of key preparations of INEC to conduct free, fair and credible election by ensuring that voters know their responsibilities.

Speaking on the importance of the implementation meeting, Babalola said, “we are standing in the mandate to conduct free fair and credible election. And for an election to be considered as free, fair and inclusive elections, citizens must be able to participate adequately and easily.

“They (voters) must be sufficiently equipped with prerequisite information to enhance their participation, and in order to achieve this, all hands must be on deck to ensure that voters enlightenment is taken to the grassroots.

“Voters must understand their roles, their right and responsibilities in the electoral process and this will help to enhance democracy,” the REC said.

Babalola expressed INEC determination to conduct a credible and acceptable Governorship election in Ondo State and and other parts of the country.

In a goodwill message, the Director of National Orientation Agency, NOA, Ondo State Mrs Adelayo Adefolalu expressed the agency’s readiness to collaborate with INEC to ensure that citizens participate actively in the electoral process.

Represented by one of her top staff, Mr Babatunde Akinde, the NOA Director emphasized that the agency will inform and orientate the electorates on the need for proper conduct of a credible poll.

“The National Orientation Agency has staff across the 774 local governments in Nigeria and 18 local governments in Ondo state. We are ready to collaborate with INEC to do the needful so that this coming election will be free and fare, to achieve this, we need to change the perception of the voters, to encourage to be discipline, maintain integrity and encourage them to vote, out of their conscience.

“We have our own strategy that we adopt to keep people engaged. NOA is ready,” the NOA boss said.

On the overview of the implementation meeting, the Director of Voter Education & Publicity, VEP, from INEC Headquarters, Abuja, Mrs Mary Nkem emphasized the importance of regular enlightenment of the public on the improved electoral processes especially the online portal to ease the Commission’s activities.

Nkem said “this meeting is aimed at identifying potential challenges and obstacles that may arise during the implementation process and to proactively address the issue well ahead of time.

“It is also to ensure that we are all on the same page and have a clear understanding of our roles and responsibilities leading us to the election, it is crucial that we work together to ensure a smooth and successful execution of the outlined activities in order to achieve a successful outcome.

“The commission have outlined several activities that will lead to the successful conduct of the upcoming governorship election in Ondo state. Voters education and publicity is crucial to the mobilization and effective participation of the voters in the electoral process. We also tend to reaffirm the voters confidence in the readiness and their abilities to conduct free and fair elections,” Nkem said.

The implementation meeting also had in attendance top staff of INEC and NYSC representatives.

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