The National Elections Commission (NEC-Liberia’s) Chairperson, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, on last Thursday addressed Nigerian women voters at the Pan African Women Projects of South Africa, South-South Sensitization Workshop, held in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC), in Uyo, Akwa-IBOM State, Nigeria.
The NEC-Liberia Chairperson Browne-Lansanah noted that a robust and sustained advocacy and intense Civil and Voter Education and media advocacy will ensure maximizing continuous Voter Registration, leading to what she called a people-oriented democratic election across Africa.
Speaking on the topic, “Maximizing Continuous Voter Registration and Civic Education Exercise for a People Oriented Democratic Election, A Call to all Nigerians, Madam Davidetta Browne said records show that Continuous Voter Registration throughout the five regions of Liberia, through partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and NEC-Liberia providing funding to support Civil Society Organizations, particularly Women’s CSO’s, helped to raise awareness in communities, as well as continuous engagement in the registration process also encouraged supporters to register and vote.
The NEC-Liberia boss said, in addition to maximizing continuous voter registration, her Commission has developed gender policy aiming for inclusivity of women, deployment and training of gender monitors to conduct field advocacy and reporting, conduct of Liberian-regional stakeholders’ engagement on the Voter Registration, (VR), process and awareness raising of local leaders and village “Town Criers” to deliver VR messages worked well.
She also stated that training of media practioners led to a near accurate reporting on the VR process, adding, “we have held constant field monitoring and evaluation to assess turn out, and where it was low, NEC-Liberia worked to re-strategize methodology which helped to guide registrants and undecided groups toward registration centers.”
Madam Browne Lansanah informed the Nigerian women voters that Maximizing Continuous Voter Registration can be achieved through the use of various media and their outlets including, social media and extensive and sustained public information outreach, which she said are critical to ensuring greater participation of the citizenry in VR process, as well as online portal which INEC Nigeria launched recently.
The NEC-Liberia Chairperson said, to achieve people-oriented democratic elections, the training, fundraising and campaigning of more women candidates for elections cannot be overemphasized.
She challenged women advocacy groups to work together to form stronger coalitions that will give them tenable positions and stronger negotiating leverage in politics.
Madam Browne-Lansanah, used the opportunity at the Nigerian women voters forum to call on all eligible Nigerians to come out to register, proposing the slogan, “each one, tell one” kind of registration, which she said is key to voting to exercise their franchise during Nigeria’s impending elections.
She said as part of the internal process of ethical fairness and transparency employment at an electoral commission needs to be based on gender equity, and that all election related programs should employ a gender perspective and take issues as a central part of the process.
She made the call for executive leaderships in every African country to be committed to gender equity and to reflect same in cabinet appointments.
Giving the Liberian experience, she said records show an increase in the number of registrants being low of several hundred thousand to a high of 2.4 million from an established 3 million eligible Liberians who have reached the required voting age of 18; the NEC-Liberia Chairperson told the gathering of mainly Nigerian women voters