Saturday, 5 January 2019

CROWDPOL to embark on 'I Pledge To Vote Campaign' ahead of 2019 elections... Read details here

L-R: Ikakke Bassey State Coordinator of NMPC, Justus Inspire Oseuno Co-Founder/CEO of CrowdPol, Efio-Ita Nyok Co-Founder/Director of Content and Community, CrowdPol
Kelvin Obambon|5 January 2019 

CALABAR —CrowdPol a civic tech startup which helps citizens find, engage and mobilise support in politics and social good and whose mission is to make governance open and inclusive for citizens, would be embarking on civic responsibility awareness campaign ahead of the forthcoming 2019 general elections NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.

Disclosing this in a press briefing on Friday in Calabar, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Justus Oseuno, said the campaign would use music and entertainment to pass its key messages since the targets are youths. He stated that the event billed to kick off on the 20th of January 2019, at the Dome, Calabar Municipal Council, would feature musicians and comedians from across the state who would perform in the concert, while using it as a medium to propagate the 'I Pledge To Vote' themes among the youths, whom he posited, make up the larger percentage of voters, going by statistics released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, sometime ago. He said the major objective of the campaign is to record significant increase in voters' turn out, especially among the youths in the forthcoming elections. This way, he argued, the youths will be actively engaged in shaping the democratic space and governance in Nigeria.

Speaking further, Mr Oseuno said the 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign would sensitize young people on how to protect their votes, speak up on electoral malpractices and also shun violence during and after the elections, while adding that CrowdPol is a non-partisan organization.

"The 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign is a campaign that will be giving birth to concerts. We believe that music and entertainment in general is one tool that mobilizes people. We want to see an increase in voters turn out.

"The INEC chairman sometime ago said the total number of people that registered last year to vote in the 2019 elections were over 11million, and a greater percentage of these people who have registered to vote are youths. When you look at the 2015 elections, you will discover that the youths were the highest number of people who did not participate in the elections —over 4million.

"We believe that the future belongs to young people. As such, there need to be an engagement between government and the citizens. Large number of the citizenry are youths. So we believe that if we can activate this demography of people to participate in the elections, it can go a long way to influence the outcome of the elections. It can also go a long way to make a statement that young people in Nigeria want to participate in deepening democracy. Base on this conviction, we decided to come up with 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign which we want to flag off with the 'I Pledge To Vote' concert.

"The idea of the concert is to bring together local artists in Cross River State, both musicians and comedians. We will bring them under one roof so they'll be able to bring out young people in the state, because we believe that these musicians have large followership base. And larger population of their followers are young people. When we bring them together in the 'I Pledge To Vote' concert, we will educate them on the importance of getting involved in the democratic process of Nigeria. And also protecting their votes and speak out on election malpractices.

"CrowdPol is a non-partisan platform. We're not there to direct the people which way to vote or where to cast their votes. We know that voting is a civic responsibility. It's a citizen's right, and every citizen has the right to demonstrate that responsibility", Oseuno said.

Throwing more light on what CrowdPol is all about, the Director of Content and Community, CrowdPol, Mr Efio-Ita Nyok, said CrowdPol is a digital platform that helps mobilize offline action around ideas that matter more to people. He added that as a civil society organization, CrowdPol is also committed to voters education, sensitization, political awareness and other related matters.

Nyok said the 'I Pledge To Vote' which is one of CrowdPol's pilot programmes for 2019, is borne out of high level of political apathy among Nigerians, especially the youths. He however attributed the ugly trend to negative perception the people have on the system, saying the 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign would be seeking to address the issue, by re-engineering the people's mindset.

He said: "CrowdPol is a digital platform that helps mobilize offline action around ideas that matter most to people. For the purpose of this media briefing, CrowdPol is a civil society organization committed to voters education, sensitization, political awareness and related matters.

"We intend to have 'I Pledge To Vote' in 2019 which is actually one of the premier edition of our programmes because we have observed there's a degree of political apathy among young Nigerian voters, and we decided to address this particular apathy. People are not interested in voting because they don't believe in the system. People who have voters card don't want to exercise their franchise because they don't believe that their votes count. Those who intend to vote are not willing to exercise their franchise without collecting money. This has defeated the purpose of democracy. Vote buying shouldn't be encouraged."

In his remarks, the state coordinator of Nigerian Movement for Positive Change (NMPC), Mr Ikakke Bassey, lauded CrowdPol for envisioning such a novel initiative which he described as a just course. He said that NMPC being an international civil society organization with headquarters in the United Kingdom, has identified with and would partner CrowdPol towards ensuring the success of the campaign. He said 'I Pledge To Vote' would change the narrative of vote buying, stealing of ballot boxes and running away with people's votes. Mr Bassey however enjoined youths from across Nigeria to join the 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign as a way of advancing the Nigerian socio-political space.

Obambon blogs for NEGROIDHAVEN 

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