High voter turnout not enough; teach voters how to vote-Prof Jega tells Political Parties

The acclaimed former chair of the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission has charged political parties to do more than just getting their supporters out to vote on election day.

Prof Attahiru Jega has also implored the parties not to leave the responsibility of voter education on the electoral commission because the parties benefit more and directly from valid votes.

Addressing a lecture in Ghana to commemorate 25 years of Ghana’s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Prof Jega said there is no point having a high voter turnout only for a good number of those ballots to be deemed invalid.

Prof Jega was recounting the experiences of the successful 2015 elections in Nigeria which has received international acclaim.

He remembered how the political parties subjected INEC to severe criticisms, accusing the independent body of not doing enough to educate the voters on how to vote.

While he admits that INEC had a role to play in educating voters and ensuring a high voter turnout, he was quick to add that the political parties are the biggest beneficiaries of high voter turn outs and valid votes and must therefore do more in educating the country’s electorates.

Answering a question on how many illegal voters were removed from the voters register ahead of the election, Prof Jega said four million illegal votes were removed before the 2015 elections.

His take on the bloated register is even more crucial as Ghana struggles to take a decision on what to do with its own bloated register. The biggest opposition party is calling for compilation of a new register whilst the governing National Democratic Congress is asking for a cleaning of the bloated register.

Prof Jega said depending on Ghana’s peculiar situation, any of the two decisions could help.

The lecture was attended by key personalities from across the political divide, including New Patriotic Party flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo, former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, former Chief of Staff under the Rawlings administration Nana Ato Dadzie.

There were also people from the academia, including Prof Audrey Gadzekpo Prof Addai Mensah.


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