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Power belongs to people with ‘Voters Card’ – INEC Secretary, Dr. Rose Oriaran-Anthony


By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Secretary to the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chief (Dr) Rose Oriaran-Anthony has called on Nigerians to take advantage of the on-going Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise to register and get their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the 2023 general election, saying that power belongs to the people with ‘”voters card” not just to the people.

She made the call on Saturday as a guest speaker, at a public hearing, organised by the Association of Edo State Indigenes Abuja (AESIA) with the theme: “Continuous Voters Registration: Creating Public Awareness and Sensitization, Impact and Significance on Polity, Governance and Dividend of Democracy” held at the Labour House Abuja.

The Commission’s Secretary, who stressed that it is the right of every Nigerian citizen from age 18 years and above to register, reminded that those who do not register till the end of June this year (2022), will not take part in the 2023 general election.
Dr Oriaran-Anthony who is also an Edo indigene, said that there is no democracy without voters.

According to her, that is why the of all various definitions of democracy, the most universally accepted is the one that refers to is as the “government of the people by the people and for the people.” And by that definition, it means it’s the people that give impetus to democracy and that without people’s participation, such a system cannot be referring to as democracy, she added.

She continued: In such a system, it’s the people that determines through their votes, who occupies public office. However, you can’t exercise this civic responsibility without first of all registering to vote, get your  Voters card and express your voice at the polls. It is a civic responsibility that should not be toyed with as it is a responsibility that places our welfare and the future of our children and children yet unborn in our hands via PVC.

Also, the INEC Secretary, who cautioned against engaging in multiple registration, said that apart from the fact that it’s a criminal offence, it invalidates the two registrations and renders one ineligible to participate in an election process. In her words, multiple registration automatically disqualifies you from voting in that it cancels both registrations. Adding that almost half of the registrations the commission have had  recently are illegal as a result of multiple registration.

While speaking against thuggery during election, Dr Oriaran-Anthony said it’s unfortunate that youths of Nigeria have been associated with electoral violence for too long. According to her, thuggery has terminated the lives of people that would have been leaders today, with others maimed live with the scars forever. She therefore warned against electoral thuggery stressing that what INEC wants is your ballot not your bullets.

Dr Oriaran-Anthony who lamented Voters apathy in Nigeria, recalled that for the first time in history since return to civil rule in 1999, Nigeria recorded the lowest rate of voter turnout of 34.75 percent as at the last presidential election in 2019. That figure of voters turnout in 2019 is  said to be the lowest of all recent elections held in African continent, according to the data from the International Institute for Democracy  and Electoral Assistance (I-IDEA).

Dr Oriaran-Anthony who reiterated that the dream of INEC is to conduct an election that is inclusive and of international standard that will meet the overall aspirations of Nigerians at all level, called on Civil Society Organisations, Socio-culttural and religious bodies to do more in taking the message of sustainable democracy to the grassroots and let the People know the benefits of participation in the electoral process.

She also charged the Association of Edo State Indigenes Abuja (AESIA), to sensitize the people of Edo State to come out and register in the on-going Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) as the state has lowest registered voters in the South South with 67,680 according to the latest weekly update released by the Commission on the 14th of February, 2022. Other states in the region recorded the following: Delta – 176, 673; Bayelsa – 168,191; Rivers – 155,256; Akwa Ibom – 106, 788 and Cross Rivers – 80, 199.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the AESIA President, Mr. Odiase Osagie eulogised Senator Matthew Urhoghide for the warm reception he extended to them when they visited him in his National Assembly office. The Senator was represented at the ocassion by his Senior Legislative Aide, Barr. Neka  Maxwell.

AESIA is the apex/parent  Socio-culttural, non-political association which covers, protects and promotes the interest  and elevates any interest that will further make Edo people proud as a royal and loving people from Edo State.

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