– By Patrick Ochei
The Stand-Up For Women Society, Delta State Chapter, a group renowned for its promotion of societal advancement and public good especially for women, has made good its promise to assist INEC in sensitizing women and mobilising them from all walks of life to register to obtain the Permanent Voter Card from the ongoing Voter Registration exercise and thereby participate to vote in the forthcoming general elections.
In collaboration with INEC, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) was on Tuesday 31st May, 2022, flagged off during their Market Outreach/Sensitization at Ogbogonogo in Asaba, Delta State.
Sensitizing the Leaders and Coordinators of Market Women and Men Association, the Chairperson of Stand-Up For Women Society, Mrs. Stella Macaulay said it had become imperative and pertinent to bring the message of Voter Registration to the market in view of the criticality and prevailing need for all eligible persons to participate in changing the system of leadership in our country through voting with their PVCs during the general elections.
She affirmed that only the PVC could guarantee that opportunity, which was why the SWS had taken the initiative to come to the market women and men to raise their consciousness in the electioneering processes by making it easier for them to register to participate in taking the decision of how our leadership should look in the next dispensation and going forward.
Macaulay who immensely appreciated the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner and his management team for the opportunity given them to carry out the campaign, said, “Enough is enough with what is going on in our country. We can no longer continue to sit on the fence only to complain when the wrong people are already in positions of power and authority. We must not continue to complain and not do anything. We must do something but only when we have the power, and that can only come with our Permanent Voter Card.
“I am glad that the INEC leadership in the State is here, which makes it easy for you to interact with them and get first hand information to guide you through the registration process and beyond. I feel pleased because these are patriotic men and women who are interested in the project Nigeria, and I have no doubt in my mind what they are capable of doing to make this country better for all.
“Having ended the individual online registration, the E-Registration commences from 1st June to the end of June at various centres. You must take advantage of this window of opportunity to register. Our message here today is, that you are in the market does not mean you cannot create time for you to go register.
“This is the time for every eligible voter to register or correct whatever error or fault in their PVC. We are not here to tell you what political party to work for or individual to vote for in an election. We are all adult Nigerians who have been observing the leadership situation in our country. So, it is imperative that you get your PVC, then you can possess the power go out to vote your choice of leaders during the general elections in 2023.
“Please note that you don’t register and leave your PVC with INEC, otherwise it becomes their property. But when you register and go back to collect your PVC, it becomes your own property which gives you the power to effect the desired change we have all been yearning for. I will tell you for free that your PVC will provide employment for your unemployed graduate children, provide healthy and conducive environment in addition to ensuring that poverty is reduced to the barest minimum with a booming and vibrant economy, if only you can use your PVC well.
“My sisters and brothers, we must stop complaining of bad leadership and make effort to do the needful to change the narratives. Your effort can pay off this time if only you can make sacrifice with your time by going to register to have your PVC”, Macaulay appealed.
The INEC Commissioner, Rev. Monday Udoh Tom was pleased with the campaign exercise and strongly commended the Stand-Up For Women Society for taking the initiative to bring them to Ogbogonogo Market as the first pot of call in the ongoing INEC Flag Off of CVR Market Outreach/Sensitization in Delta State in Collaboration with the Stand-Up For Women Society.
In answering various questions and listening to the requests made during the interactive session with the market women and men, the REC promised to make the BVAS machine available for registration inside Ogbogonogo Market from Wednesday 8th June through to Friday 10th June, 2022.
He took time to explain to them all that they needed to know about the registration while discouraging double registration, except that they want to replace their cards, transfer their voting locations or update the information in their cards.
Rev. Tom however, urged the market women and men to also disseminate the registration message to their churches, families and other associations for the benefit of capturing more eligible voters in their database.
He noted that INEC commenced this window of Continuous Voter Registration on 28th June, 2021, which is due to elapse by the end of June 2022.
The REC therefore, admonished every Nigerian to register and possess the PVC to help them secure a better future for them and Nigeria at large.
It was a worthwhile venture as Leaders and Coordinators of various markets in Oshimili South LGA took turn to speak and make suggestions on the best approach to adopt in ensuring that majority of their members register and participate in the electioneering processes.
Some of the market leaders in attendance included the Secretary, Market Women and Men Association, Delta State Chapter, Pastor Cyril; Coordinator, Market Women and Men Association, Oshimili South and Leader Ogbogonogo Market, Mrs. Adigwe Lilian; Coordinator, Ogbogonogo Market, Mrs. Nelly Obi and others too numerous to mention.