- As the FCT area council elections draw nearer, the Yiaga Africa team visited Dutse market in Abuja for sensitization
- The team of young civic leaders educated residents on the need to get registered, collect their PVC, and participate in the upcoming polls
- In the last 15 years, Yiaga Africa has been at the forefront of defending democratic values in Africa through civic activism and electoral participation
FCT, Abuja - To mark its 15th anniversary in Nigeria's civic space, Yiaga Africa on Monday, February 7 visited the popular Dutse market in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, reaching out to residents on the importance of civic and electoral participation.
Led by its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, a team from Yiaga Africa visited the nook and crannies of the market, urging buyers and sellers to actively participate in the upcoming FCT area council elections.
Citizens without their Permanent Voters' Cards (PVC) were also guided on how to collect them in their various areas.
Do you have a groundbreaking story you would like us to publish? Please reach us through email@example.com!
Speaking to journalists on the significance of the initiative, Itodo said:
“This effort is part of our own contribution to mobilising citizens to participate in the electoral system because votes are counting and citizens can no longer sit on the sidelines and complain without taking action.
“Secondly, the turnout for voters at the elections have been appalling and Yiaga Africa working on elections is very disturbed like other stakeholders and we are very determined to change this.
“So we encourage people to come out and get the leadership that they want, the more you stay away from the voting centres, the more you are going to have political actors subvert the will of the people.
“Riggers rig because people don’t come out for elections, so one way to stop politicians from rigging elections is to come out en masse to vote, stay at the polling station until ballots are counted and results are declared.’’
Responding to a question on the choice of Dutse market, he said:
“We chose the market in Duste Alhaji because this is a place where people congregate, so we are using this strategy to reach people who have come to the market to procure either goods or services and to enlighten them about this process.
“If we are serious about increasing turnout in elections then we have to go meet people where they are and this is what Yiaga Africa is doing.’’
Also speaking, the Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu said Nigerians must be wary of politicians hell-bent on frustrating the electoral process and denying them their rights.
Delay in Chinese loan alert, changes Nigerian government focus to European banks as search for funds continues
“They want us to continually stay away from participation so they will always tell us votes don’t count but that is a lie, votes are beginning to count.
“The only way we can change the outcome of the elections is to come out in our numbers and vote especially for local council election.
“The local government is the closest government to the people and we cannot talk about democracy without local government.’’
On his part, Chief Eugene Aguiyi, the Chairman Ohanaze Ndigbo traders wing, Dutse market, said:
“They (Yiaga Africa) are doing the right thing. People should come out and vote. You cannot sit in your house and shout for change. It's only when you go out and use your card (PVC), you can now change the government.
“Before Yiaga Africa came, as a chairman, I mobilized people to go out and vote. Tomorrow we will have our general meeting, and we will bring it up.’’
Aguiyi assured of the cooperation of his members to ensure that credible leaders were voted in the FCT area council elections by participating in the process actively.