By Sagiru Ado Abubakar.
As a means of providing citizens of democracy with basic information about participating in elections, the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has organized 2-day Voter Education Training for the 18 SCEEP Communities in Kano Sate. This is coming barely a week after unveiling of the voter education training manual ahead of 2019 general elections for the public scrutiny. The training was conducted from 30th-31st March, 2018 at Ni’imah Guest Palace, Kano with support from ActionAid, Nigeria as part of an effort to promote citizens’ engagement in electoral process through SCEEP project. Speaking at the beginning of the training, the Program Coordinator, Malam Isyaku Garba said that the importance of voter’s education to a peaceful, credible and successful electoral process cannot be underestimated or over emphasized. He then added that voters need to be adequately educated for the purpose of mobilizing the populace for Voter’s Registration, Collection of Voters Card, Voting, Constituency Delimitation Exercise, Plebiscite or Referendum etc.
While briefing the participants on how the Voter Education Manual is arranged, Malam Ahmad Abdullahi Yakasai who represented the Executive Director of the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Engr. YZ Ya’u at the event said that the manual has been crafted in a way that is easier for the facilitator to understand and for the trainees to comprehend. He also stated that the manual consists of eight modules and some of the modules are further calibrated into different sessions. Each module starts with the overview, learning outcomes, duration, learning materials, delivery methods, facilitators note and session’s objective. He then added that the first module is on Adult Learning Methodology in order to build the capacity of the facilitators on the right facilitation techniques.
In his remarks, Malam Idris Nuhu Congo, a participant from Gaya local government, and who took part at the Master Training in Abuja, clarified why does voter education matters. In his clarification he said that elections cannot be genuinely democratic unless voters understand the differences among the contestants so that they can cast an informed vote. He stated also that voters must understand how to vote on election day, or risk missing the opportunity, having their ballots disqualified for being improperly marked, or facing another issue that restricts or eliminate their ability to participate. He then concluded that voter education provides potential voters with necessary information to make an informed choice in the voting booth.
Leading a session on qualities of good facilitators, Malama Harira Abdurrahman Wakili of CITAD mentioned that a good facilitator should be audible, articulate, a good listener, friendly and flexible, firm, when necessary, humorous, respectful (to persons & opinions), gender and culturally sensitive, confident, versatile/knowledgeable on the topic of training, moderately and well dressed, have effective body language, and must be neutral.
During group work session, three groups were formed and given 15 minutes time to come and dramatize the conduct of the Election Day activities.
Lastly, the participants were urged to take what they have acquired during the workshop to their respective communities.