About 26 of the 91 registered political parties will be fielding candidates in the upcoming general elections in Edo state.
The Edo state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Emmanuel Alex-Hart, made this known on Thursday during a sensitisation programme organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for South South geo-political zone on voided votes in Benin.
Alex-Hart, who was represented at the event by the Head of voter education, Wilfred Ifowga, noted that poor voter enlightenment accounts for voided votes.
He said; “Although we have 91 registered political parties in the country, only 26 out of the number are active in the state.
“Not all the political parties are fielding candidates for the presidential election, so the ballot papers will not be too long to avoid voided votes.
“A careful study has shown that the high number of voided votes recorded during previous elections could be attributed to poor voter enlightenment.
“Since the findings, the commission stepped up its voter education effort by engaging all stakeholders in ensuring every vote count and the number of voided votes is reduced.”
Alex-Hart noted that a vote can help produce the necessary margin for a winner and can also make a candidate loose an election or even for a re-run.
He therefore urged stakeholders to double effort to ensure a conclusive elections and avoid mistakes which can easily be nibbed in the bud before the election day.
Alex-Hart said; “The 2019 general elections is 29 days from now, let’s drive the message home so that the consequences of voided votes can be avoided.”
In her speech, the Acting State Director of NOA, Mrs. Grace Eseka, noted that the number of voided votes in the past is of worrisome concern and has to be reduced to the barest minimum.
She said the programme was also to ensure that the votes of the electorate counted and more Importantly curb voided votes in the forthcoming general elections.
“This voter education programme is taking place in the six geo-political zone and local government area nationwide and I urge you to take this national discourse seriously,” Eseka said.
The NOA state official disclosed that the agency will continue to educate the electorate on the various symbols of all the registered political parties and how best to thumb print in order to minimise the problem of voided votes.
Yusuf Bako, the state chairman of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs who also spoke at the event promised to take the message to the Muslim community .