National Orientation Agency (NOA)

As the nation prepares for the general elections, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) says it has mapped out strategies to curb invalid or voided votes during the exercise.

The Director-General of NOA, Dr Garuba Abari, said this in Ilorin on Monday during a voter education programme, ‘Curbing invalid Votes in Elections’, organised by the agency.

Abari, represented by the Director of Public Enlightenment and Mass Mobilisation at the agency, Mrs Ruth Ogun, decried the alarming figures of voided votes during elections in the country.

According to Abari, in the 2015 presidential election, a total of 844, 519 votes were rejected as invalid out of 29,432,083 total votes cast.

He attributed the high figures of voided votes to inadequate voter education and sensitisation programmes.

Abari reaffirmed the determination of the agency to embark on aggressive sensitisation programmes in the 774 local government councils in the country to reverse the trend.

The Director-General described invalid votes as those thumb printed outside the party logo box or those hanging between two or more political parties

He reiterated the commitment of NOA to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders toward reducing or eradicating voided votes.

In his remarks, the state Director of NOA, Mr Olusegun Adeyemi, said the motive of sensitising Nigerians on invalid votes was to give them a sense of belonging

Adeyemi noted that curbing invalid votes and other acts inimical to credible elections was the only way of achieving credible, reliable, fair and acceptable elections.

He advised politicians to eschew violence before, during and after the exercise.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Alhaji Mohammed Sabi, in his remarks, condemned the recent cases of political violence in some parts of the state capital.

He advised supporters of political parties to ensure that their campaigns were violence-free to sustain the harmonious relationship existing among people of the state.

The event was attended by eminent personalities from all walks of life.