By Ayodele Sunday
The good people of Rivers State and other Nigerians that attended the yearly Calabar Carnival last December will not forget the voter education and enlightenment programmes presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a hurry.
In its bid to maximize the opportunity offered by the huge influx of local and international tourists to the yearly event, widely adjudged as Africa’s biggest street party, the Commission’s office in state organized a series of programmes comprising dance, parade, distribution of materials and drama presentation to draw attention to the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise and answer question on a wide range of other issues.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Cross River state, Dr. Frankland Briyai said the Commission zeroed in on the event because it holds every December “and a lot of people from all over the world, especially from Nigeria come to the carnival.”
He said: “A lot of people that may not be aware of our publicity programme would get informed through this platform and would become aware of our work and their own roles as citizens.”
Director of Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) Mr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi observed that INEC’s presence at the carnival was not new “because we also participated in the Calabar Carnival in 2016.”
He added: “It is our belief that voter education should be taken to Nigerians through whatever platform we can use. We have also integrated voter education into major sporting and cultural events, where we distribute materials and respond to questions especially on the ongoing CVR, how to vote and download myINEC mobile application. And if there are questions on the Electoral Act, our staff are on ground to answer them.”
The drama presentation by INEC staff in Cross River entailed the procedures involved in the ongoing CVR, requesting for transfer of a voting point from one location to the other and replacing lost or damaged voter cards.