From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja

Hundreds of youths gathered at Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, over the weekend to discuss the roles of youths on the ongoing Electoral Reforms in the country and made some contributions on how the Electoral Act can be expanded to accommodate wider participation

The round table discussion was organised by the North Central Youth Forum on Electoral Reforms (Kogi State chapter) in conjunction with Kimpact development Initiative (KDI), the National Endowment for Democracy (NDD) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

In his opening remarks, the senior programme manager, KDI, Mr Femi Adebayo said the event was organised to ensure how the citizens can actively participate in the Electoral reforms so as to drastically reduce election violence and malpractices in the country which he said often resort to loss of lives and property.

He said the youths which form the larger percentage of the voting population have been marginalised in the discussion process on past Electoral reforms in the country and stressed that the youths must make meaningful contributions in the current Electoral reforms

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Adebayo said the discussion were being organised in the six geo political zones of the federation and that that of the North Central was taking place in Lokoja adding that all contributions made in the six zones will be collated and presented to the Electoral Reform committee of the National Assembly.

The youths also discussed on challenges encountered in the last November governorship election in Kogi State especially as it regards the pre election, election proper and the post election matters and proffered solutions to some of the issues raised.

Some of the Challenges identified in the last election was lack of adequate provision by INEC for Physically challenge people to exercise their franchise by not providing magnify glasses for albinos as promised, as well as not given preference to them while in the queue for voting.

INEC non transmission of results electronically, compromise on the part of some INEC staff , fake news, thuggery, campaign crisis especially within SDP and APC late arrival of election materials, non working of Bivas were also identified as some of the challenges of the last Kogi governorship election.