…Urge Nigerians to be part of electoral process
By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Nigerians have been urged to take their political destiny in their own hands by registering to vote and stand by their votes during the general elections.
Notable Nigerians who made the call, yesterday, were Political Economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; Lagos Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN; Prof. Ademola Abbas; Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN; Emmanuel Ijewere; Prof. Remi Shonaya; Prof. Uma Eleazu, and Gbenga Ajayi, among others.
They spoke at the unveiling of the registration portal of the ‘40 Million Ballots Movement’, initiated by Youths on the Street Initiative, founded in 2017.
The movement is an emerging political force of 40 million voters, aimed to evolve into the long-awaited Third Force, which plans to wrest power from the PDP and APC, in 2023.
Specifically, Falana said that in campaigning for registration, there should be adequate education by all stakeholders on the type of information required of them.
Falana claimed that the present administration is planning to install continuity of unemployment, poverty, insecurity in 2023, adding that Nigerians should stand against it with their votes.
Nigerians must demand for credible elections and begin to campaign against election malpractices, and those involved should duly be prosecuted, he said, adding: “Since we have no other country, we must, therefore, vote wisely. President Muhammadu Buhari has other countries. That is why he goes abroad for medicals.”
In his comments, Prof. Pat Utomi, commended the initiative saying, when people decide to be liberated, there will be liberation.
According to him, many professionals decided to fight the June 12, 1993 course and liberated the country from the military so that civilians could be given a chance.
His words: “We thought since civilian rule has come, we will be liberated. But over 20 years after, the politicians have set us backward. We now asked, how could we liberate ourselves from these people? And a simple way was discovered: the ballot.
“When you stay in your room and read newspapers, the illiterates who would collect cheap money, who are few in number, would go out to vote for them. If only you would register, we will vote these people out.
“Unfortunately, the leaders too don’t even know the level of damage they are doing to themselves. We need more enlightened people and a new set of politicians. We need to democratically banish the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, permanently.”
Also, Chief Emmanuel Ijewere said that he aligned with what Utomi said, adding that he has lived in Nigeria for over 70 years and saw it all.
“What we could not do yesterday, we can do today. Every eligible Nigerian should go out and vote. If you have registered before, go and check. Education also involves mental education like the experience we have had. Use your ballot to reverse your life, the 40 million votes is doable and make sure you play your role in a peaceful manner, we must register and vote.”
Dr. Muiz Banire, in his contributions, said that the youths constitute 60 per cent of the nation’s population and that the initiative was a wake-up call for their future.
Banire added that this was the last chance for the country and that if nothing was done the people would have themselves to blame.
“I want to associate with the initiative as it is more civilised. As you vote, you must be vigilant so that you are not rigged out. The presumption is that these 40 million people would be the informed class and we will educate the vulnerable, and then we will rejoice together as we rescue this country,” he said.
Prof. Ademola Abass said that Nigeria was in a critical time, saying that 60 per cent of Lagos residents were youths.
Abass lamented that the same youths would not go out to vote but send out over one billion votes to a reality show.
The Convener, Comrade Kennedy Iyere said that if people cooperate with the group, Nigeria would soon be a great nation.
“Nigerians have been misgoverned recklessly, we do not need to sit back and watch. Politicians are pursuing the tickets because they want to become the president.
“Nigerians have the supreme power, let’s go to the market. 40 million ballots is a revolutionary way of claiming power from politicians who have oppressed us or else we will continue to have the people who have oppressed us for many years,” he said.