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NBA, INEC, ACF collaborate, sensitise public to free, credible elections in Kaduna

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Barnawa Branch in Kaduna, in collaboration with lINEC and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has sensitised the public to the need for free, fair and credible elections in 2023.

The sensitisation, which began with two kilometres road walk within Kaduna metropolis on Saturday, was also done in collaboration with the NURTW and other Civil Society Organisations.

The Chairman of NBA Branch, Mr Vitus Ewuzie, said the campaign was to educate the public on their political and legal rights to have free, fair and credible elections.

He said the awareness was also to inform them that elections had consequences.

“Which ever way they vote, there are consequences; if they vote right, they get it right and if they vote wrongly, they face the consequences,” he said.

He noted that the excercise was also crucial to enjoin the people of Kaduna state who have reached voting age to come out in mass to excercise their franchise on election days.

Also, Mr. Umar Buhari, INEC’s Head of ICT Department in Kaduna, said to ensure safe, free, fair and credible elections in 2023, the INEC had been preparing since 2019.

He said they began the Continous Voters Registration (CVR) for almost a year, to enable Nigerians who did not register to do so and get their permanent voter cards.

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He added that ample time was given by the Comission for those who wanted to make corrections or transfer their cards.

“We have began distributing the cards, and another round of the card distribution will begin on Monday till Jan. 22, 2023.

“We will continue to distribute the cards at our LGA offices and from Jan. 6 to 15, we will move down to registration area level so as to enable Nigerians have more access to collect their cards,” he said.

Buhari further said that in preparation for the elections, they INEC put in place its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, where in Kaduna it would be deployed to the 8,012 pulling units in the state.

He said all the advancements achieved by the comission was to ensure maximum turn out of voters to excercise their franchise in a free, fair and credible manner.

“In line with our motto, this time around, people’s votes will count,” Buhari said.

On his part, Dr. Patrick Katuka, Deputy Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Kaduna Chapter, said they were not in doubt of INEC’s credibility to conduct a free and fair election.

He said the forum, as a major stakeholder in the nation at large, had the responsibility to partner with the NBA to sensitise the public to the need to excercise their fundamental human rights to vote, once they attained the age.

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Katuka called on the people who attained voting age and yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards, to do so and ensure they excercised their voting rights.

Earlier, the Chairman, Human Rights Committee, NBA Barnawa Branch, Ehizogie Imadojemu, said the sensitisation, being a political right advocacy programme, was organised by the committee.

Imadojemu, who is also the Vice Chairman of the branch, said it was the right of people to have free, fair and credible elections in a democracy.

“We are trying to tell the people of Kaduna that it is their right to vote and it is not negotiable.

“They should also vote right by eschewing sentiments that had accompanied voting over the years.

“Where the candidates come from, their religion, tribe or ethic group will not help get the right people into position.

“This time around, we are telling the electorate to consider competence because elections have consequences.

“If you are going to collect money to vote, remember issue of insecurity, inflation and many other problems; vote competence by casting away sentiments,” he advised.

Imadojemu further said that voters were the employers, not political parties or their candidates.

He, therefore, advised the public to vote right and not to compromise in any way.

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