Minister of Office of Electoral Commissioner
Remarks on Voters Day
Today marks the second year since the Government approved the National Voters Day as part of the Office of the Electoral Commissioner’ national drive, to raise public awareness on the rights, duties and obligations of our citizens as voters under our Constitution and electoral laws.
For years, national conversation on election have always been placed on the back burner until months away from the next election.
By the time voters and candidates start conversing about elections, it was rather too late to make informed decisions on how and why we exercise our rights to vote.
As Minister responsible for the Office of the Electoral Commissioner (O.E.C.), it is my intention to see this habit change.
Hence the National Voters Day which will now be commemorated every year to give our voters a sense of responsibilities for their rights, duties and obligations accorded to them by law.
They say “we get a Government that we deserve” meaning that we as voters, through free, fair and inclusive elections are given the same opportunity to have our say in electing who should be our Government on the day. For that opportunity to be fair, Electoral Management Bodies, like O.E.C. must ensure that our citizens are constantly reminded that their vote is their voice is counted when it’s time to vote.
The theme for today’s occasion is “To Empower Youth Participation in Elections”.
We have continued to note the poor participation of our youth in elections, yet we constantly hear them discussing election related issues affecting their lives.
Remember, you are without a voice if you do not participate freely in our elections.
Today, is my challenge to all our young people attending the activities of this year’ National Voters Day to make the most of it.
Learn as much as you can from your other counter parts and see why it is important for you, as young members of our society to be fully aware of your rights, duties and obligations under our constitution and electoral laws.
I even challenge you today to raise issues that you may feel will improve our electoral process.
That is part of your civic duties as citizens of this country because elections are too important to be ignored. Remember, a country can only prosper if its youth and future generations take part in this critical decisions making process.
On that note, I hope that the National Voter’s Day initiatives will continue to raise awareness about the importance of participating/freely in elections and why your vote should be your sole responsibility and not anyone else’.
Please allow me to acknowledge the Church Ministers, school Principals, parents, youths and students who are taking part in today’s events, Your participation is a positive indication that tells me that this national convention about elections in now part of our general conversation and discussions on a constant basis rather than waiting for election year to come around.
The Government is committed to seeing this process through and trust that today’s event will be a successful occasion.
I further trust that our usual partners in the Diplomatic Corp, International Organizations and N.G.O.s will support this vision in the years to come. Happy Voter’s Day. Soifua.