INEC Registration: Need for South East electorate to participate in CVR

If we really want our votes to count without being either counted for or against the political decision taken, there is need to begin to create more awareness for the citizens to ensure that they register online for the ongoing continuous voters registration that started Monday, 28 June, 2021.

When voters are counted, the question will be, will you be among those counted eligible to vote? According to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Imo State, Prof. Francis Ezeonu who once told me that what is at stake is the future and fortune of Ndigbo and not INEC. Those periods that he went himself with his team to the communities sensitizing the citizens on the need to register and vote when the time comes remain green.

I have canvassed that our political decisions determine our economic position, that political decision can only be driven when you have the ticket to vote, which is the voters’ card. The lackadaisical and lukewarm attitude of some citizens as it regards the registration process will not and does not provide the explanation when the wrong people are voted into power.

When citizens do not come out to vote, the politicians have opportunity to rig elections, so that the need for political apathy is not accommodated. INEC must be commended for providing the online platform to expand the registration to enable more participants enroll. INEC has continued to promise of free, fair and credible elections and that assurance has been followed by opening the space for more registration.

This is indeed a milestone for our nation as it is the first time where voters can pre-enroll from the comfort of their homes before being scheduled for biometric capture at INEC offices nationwide. For years, citizens have clamoured for the inclusion of more technology to accurately capture voters’ data and biometrics; this is a step in the right direction.

The CVR exercise is for citizens who are 18 years and above and have never registered to vote, lost or damaged their PVC, want to transfer their voting location and have registered but had problems during the past elections. INEC has cautioned against double registration. Anybody that tells you that your votes do not count, that is another game of distraction and denial of civic right. According to Aisha Yesufu, “If your votes don’t count why are politicians paying for them”.

There are 84004084 registered voters in Nigeria, the question remains are you among this huge number and more to come after this round of registration. We have 176846 polling units in Nigeria and 18 registered political parties. For me, the political parties are the drivers of the votes while the voters are the passengers and deciders of our economic wellbeing and welfare.

The call for marginalization can only come to near to being addressed when the consciousness of our people in terms of voting in election is heightened. Elections are not won by mouth but by casting your votes and those votes can only be bought for increased impact if the citizens come out in their numbers and register for those who have not registered. Stakeholders across the southeast should begin to create town halls meetings majorly on sensitizing the people on the need to come out and register and be eligible to vote during elections. There is no gainsaying that the only marginalization that the South East zone has given to itself is the apathy that it has created for itself. If the zone can conquer the ‘I don’t care attitude’ concerning election, then addressing the marginalization is not impossible.

The state governments of the zone should give 2-week public holidays for citizens to go and register. The campaign for votes can only make political sense if there are votes to canvass. If there are none, the essence of political campaign is defeated. It is when the politicians are sure that the people have adequately and copiously registered in their numbers, that the justification for canvass for votes can play at the center of politics otherwise it will be a wild goose chase, no, it will be ‘beating in the air’.

The media must devote pages for the continuous write and speak of this issue until it gains ground. I am not averse to the fact that no development can take place until political decisions are made. I commend the REC of Imo, Prof. Ezeonu who has continued to encourage electorate to take a break of their busy schedules, check the nearest registration center and register because it is only the political system/decision that can change the narrative.

A good political system put in place by collective votes can kill the mosquito in your room. I keep telling citizens that the political decisions we make can cure or aggravate the malaria of your child. A good political decision can provide that job you are looking for. A good political decision can give constant electricity and improve the level of business in the states. There is a difference between the political decisions one takes and the mosquito that bites one at night.

The voters’ card apart from the Bible is the most important document that citizens should not joke with, because it has the potentialities to make or mar. That decision can only happen when you have registered and got your voters’ card. Have you got yours, if not, go on! The door of the registration is wide enough and none should feel restricted since INEC has not restricted you, why should you.

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Articles by Chigozie Uzosike