By Omar Bah
As part of their sensitization campaigns ahead of the Local Government Elections, the coming National Council for Civic Education are currently embarking on a massive voter education in CRR-North and North Bank Region covering over 40 communities.
NCCE is an independent state institution established to educate citizens on their civic rights and duties, to create and sustain awareness of constitutional democracy for the achievement of full participation and to maintain political, economic and social stability through civic education.
Speaking on Friday at the opening of one of the meetings in Kunjata village in NBR, Junkung Saidy, Senior Civic Education Officer at the NCCE reminded the villagers that it is the councilors responsibility to provide basic social services such as water, street lights, markets, feeder roads amongst others to the communities.
“It is also the responsibility of the councilors to support women with labour saving devices such as milling machines, women gardens, support the education of children through scholarship, environmental sanitation the list goes on,” he said.
The campaign, he said is targeting to enlighten citizens on the important roles and functions of Mayors/Mayoress, Chairpersons and Councilors in community development, “The sensitization engagement would also seek to promote unity and political tolerance among citizens, to ensure peace during and after the elections.”
“The council’s are also oblige to serve as planning authorities for their various Areas for the general development of their communities; prepare a comprehensive and uninterrupted development plan for its Area; incorporate all ward plans; co-ordinate all donor support; and approve all project agreements,” he said.
Mr Saidy urged voters not to sell their votes, saying by doing so they lose their citizenship, rights as well as royalty.
He reminded the listening crew that all elections are equally important and called on all eligible voters with voters’ card to go out and vote in their numbers during the local government elections.
“Before I conclude I would want to call on all citizens to do away with the issues of tribal politics because it will only create divisions among us, “Elections will come and go but we continue to live together as citizens.”
Also speaking at Sinchu Njabo village in another well attended meeting, Ansumana Yabou, a Senior Civic Education Office at the NCCE described elections as the lifeblood of a democracy.
He intimated that the constitution and the election laws of the country set out how regular elections will be held to ensure that government officials know that they will be held accountable for their actions and decisions and can be removed from office.
Meanwhile, the NCCE Senior Programme Officer, Yusupha Bojang said: “The activity is part of series of engagements the NCCE is currently having across the country, using diverse means and platforms to reach out to the populace, to sensitize them about the impending Local Government Elections.”
“The sensitisation is aim at changing people’s perceptions towards this election, because usually many people don’t attach much importance to the lower elections and hence the high voter apathy over the years. This is what NCCE want to change. We want people to understand and appreciate the importance of the Local Governments Elections,” he stated.
He continued: “The first phase of the campaign was held in Upper River Region covering Sami Pachonki in Sami District and Ballanghar Sey Kunda in Lower Saloum.”