About 271 NYSC corps members have been trained on Civic Voter Education by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), a United Kingdom (UK) Non-Departmental public body dedicated to supporting democracy.
Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, the Country Director of WFD, made this disclosure one-day training on Friday in Abuja at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, Kubwa.
According to him, the training was one of the core aspect of the organisation’s “#OurVoteCountsNGProject”.
Olorunmola stated that WFD is collaborating with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and NYSC to ensure the success of the project.
He added that the project also has the support of European Union-Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).
The country director said that the project involved the recruitment and training of corps members to carry out voter education dissemination through the Voters’ Education Community Development Service (CDS) Group set up by the WFD.
“Youths are often engaged by politicians and political parties and used as foot soldiers, thugs, to snatch ballot boxes, intimidate opposition candidates or parties as opposed to encouraging them to conduct their civic right of participating in the electoral process.
“The project will therefore support democratic governance in Nigeria by using targeted peer to peer civic and voter education to encourage youth participation in the electoral process.
“Youth participation in the electoral process is very crucial and important hence, the project’s target is to increase their interest and commitment to the process.
“This project is being funded by EU-SDGN and will be implemented by WFD and INEC.
“In line with the objectives of EU-SDGN and WFD, the project will support sustainable democratic growth through citizen participation.
“It will also strengthen the various institutions capable of accountable governance, while the Voters’ Education CDS group will set the foundation for a more responsible, participatory and engaged youth who can later constitute members of parliament,” Olorunmola said.
He assured that the project will also be carried out in Osun and Imo State
Mr Bello Ballama, the NYSC FCT Coordinator, noted that youths in Nigeria constitute 63 per cent of eligible voting population, urging them to join hands to ensure that their votes count.
The coordinator lauded EU-SDGN and WFD for identifying the potentials of youths and their resolve to help strengthen democracy in the country.
Established in 1992, WFD provides expertise to countries around the world on how to develop parliaments, political party structures and civil society organisations; the key institutions that make up a functioning democracy.