By Patrick Obia
As the general elections beckons, Nigerians and Cross Riverians have been urged to shun political apathy, go out amass and vote the candidate of their choice as their vote will count.
The call was made on regular Sunday program ‘The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo’ on Hit 95.9 FM Calabar, where the State Chairman of Conference Of Nigerian Political Parties, Pastor Sunday Michael, State Coordinator of Center for Transparency Advocacy, Mr. Darlington Edem and the Chief Executive Officer Crowdpol and Convener of the #ipledge to vote campaign, Mr. Justus Inspire Oseuno, called the electorates to exercise their franchise in the forth coming general elections which kick start on the February 16th 2019.
Justus Inspire point out the insinuations of the electorates that their votes will not count as the leading cause of apathy in an election, calling it a “Myth.”
His words, “In the case of voter apathy in Nigeria right now, people don’t want to vote. We know that it is our constitutional right but people deliberately don’t want to vote because of some certain circumstances they experienced; they think their votes do not count, why do we go out and cast out vote when we know that the outcome will not be what we predicted or the person we actually voted for will not emerge as the winner? So, because of that people tend to boycott the election saying that my vote will not count.
The case of saying my vote do not count is a myth and we are trying to demystify that myth by saying actually your vote counts.”
Darlington Edem, on his part seconded that there is so much voter apathy right now but however pleaded with the citizens not to relent on their constitutional obligation and not to leave it in the hands of politician who will mess it up.
“Generally, there is apathy in voting. Of course people do not have confidence on the electoral umpires, the general issue of violence and all of that. I think this program is very important to reawaken the consciousness of our importance; the importance of our votes. If we leave it in the hands of politicians, they will mess it up, going out to vote is important.” He maintained.
Mr. Sunday Michael on his part noted that political parties contribute less than 20% while politicians contributes more to voter apathy due to threats impose to the opposition politicians which tends to scare people away from voting.
His words, “Political parties contributes less than 20% is the candidates that contributes to the leading cause of voter apathy. In Nigeria, we feel that if you are not a violent person you will not win elections and often time candidates recruit people that will intimidate, threat and harass other candidate.”
Having enumerated some of the reasons for voter apathy, he called on the people to get involve in the process. “For us to end political violence from the board, that begins from the participation from the people. The total number of membership of political parties in the whole Nigeria is not up to 10, 000 forget when the party come out to tell you that we have twenty something million people; it is a lie. I challenge anybody to bring such register in Cross River State here, the two leading political parties and other political parties, we don’t have up to one hundred and fifty thousand million people as members. So, citizens should identify with political parties.
“We also have to bring in people that are accountable. We as a people must deliberately address these issues, we must deliberately participate in our own political development, collectively build an ossifying structure that will take our State to that particular place we want it to be. There is nothing more than that.” He argued.
The guests advocated for stiff punishment to those who will constitute nuisance to elections. They therefore call on the citizens to cast their votes wisely.
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