By Simeon OSAJIE
As part of its activities to enlightening the general public on the very significance of trouping out en masse to vote for their preferred legislative candidates vying for the Edo House of Assembly Election come March, 18, the Mentoring Individual’s Dream (MiND) Initiative, in collaboration with Accountability Lab Nigeria, Man O’ War, Royal Ambassador, Conference of Non-Governmental Organizatioon (CONGOS), alongside with other election stakeholders in Edo State has embarked on sensitization exercise across the nooks and crannies of Benin metropolis.
With different placards like; “Dear Citizens, Your Vote Matters, Come Out And Vote On Saturday 18th March, 2023,” “My Vote Count, I Go Vote”, “I Pledge To Vote Now”, “There Is No Polling Unit On Social Media”, “PVC Is Your Voice”, “Power Dey Ur Hand, Your Finger Print Be The Magic,” where at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council to seeks the media assistance in disseminating to the public the need to come out to exercise their franchise.
Addressing newsmen, one of the conveners, Comrade Peter Aguebor said the exercise is to further improve on the existing knowledge that the citizens of Edo State has towards the legislative arm of government State as well as to changing the obvious poor narrative and attention given to legislative government in the State.
Aguebor opined that the stakeholders understand that in pushing and directing voters’ inclination to the forthcoming Edo State House of Assembly Election, cannot achieved the necessary desired outcomes without the support of the media – the conventional media; as the media houses or institution is a critical stakeholder in driving positive developmental changes to the ever-evolving political intuitiveness of the Edo Citizens and Nigeria citizens at large.
“To this end, the media which you humbly represent needs to collaborate in massively educating the large Edo citizens on the need for participation in the forthcoming March 18 House of Assembly Election in Edo State through both print and electronic means.
“The legislative arm of government of any nation is the heart of representative democracy. It is the only place through which the minds and aspirations of the citizenry are adequately represented through it various elected representatives; hence the need for a loud and conscious sensitization to disrupt the absurd previous scenarios characterized by low voters turns out during legislative election and little or no attention of the citizens towards this arm of government leading to the election of incompetency, naïve and docile representation.
“Changing this narrative is critical especially in Edo State where voters turnout low and apathy has been ongoing, although largely caused by previous incidence of violence that usually characterized the election process,” he said.
Going further, Comrade Peter Aguebor appeal to leadership of the Union to assist in ensuring its members keeps to the code of conducts of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in the areas of ensuring they abate the spread of fake new and unfounded allegations generated by politicians in heating up the political space in the state.
“Every Media Houses must hold it as a sense of duty to always confirm the veracity of every political statement before it airing.
“The Union should ensure in the days leading to election especially the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Election, all various candidates seeking various political seats in the state are adequately reach out for roundtable discussion and debates, in order for the citizens to be very much aware of the various plans and aspirations of these political candidates.
“During the election, media houses should ensure they highlight and build on real-time experiences and encounters faced by the electorates and properly help in channeling these experiences to the right channel or organization concerned for effective election process,” he said.
Responding, the state chairman of NUJ, Comrade Festus Alenkhe appreciated the organizers of the sensitization exercise and promised to that the union will help to disseminate the information to the general.
He also encouraged the organizers to be vigilante while they embark on the exercise so that hoodlums will not hijack the process.