PRESIDENT-GENERAL, Enugwu-Ukwu Community Development Union, (ECDU), Women Wing, Lagos Branch, Oby Okonkwo, has called on women to take ownership of their affairs through active political participation.
Dr Okonkwo made the call in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday, in Awka, and urged all women to join hands with her and other well-meaning Nigerians to sensitises the public on the importance of women’s active involvement in politics.
She said that the era of women being at the back yard of political decision in matters that concern their lives has gone and advised them to take the message to their children, relatives and friends.
Okonkwo urged women of the community to go get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to enable them to vote in the upcoming general elections in 2023 saying its benefits are immeasurable.
She said that women should not be deterred because of past political activities where votes did not count and assured them that their votes will be translated to their choice of leaders.
“It is only with the PVCs that the electorate can use to change the ugly political narrative of the country. There is no magic, come out in hundreds to vote the right candidate. Your vote will count.
“If your votes do not count, why do we have vote inducement. Get your PVCs, shun any form of political inducement or rascality. Vote to end bad leadership and do not entertain political distraction and see your vote count.
“Your votes will count this time around because the new Electoral Act recently signed into law by President Muhamadu Buhari authoriss that.
“With the new electoral laws, results of any election in Nigeria can no longer be changed at the collation centres; no more box takeover. Rigging of 2023 elections is nearly impossible.
“All results would be transmitted from 176,846 polling units to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s server and can be viewed by anyone from all over the world online as the results drops.
“The implication is that the winner of the 2023 presidential elections would not be manipulated, so you see reasons to go get your PVCs and vote for prosperity for this generation and upcoming generations,” she appealed.
Okonkwo urged all the village leaders to take the sensitisation campaign to their various kindreds to encourage all adults who are yet to get their voter cards and the newly turned 18 years youths to rush and get registered.
She reminded the women that it is their civic responsibility towards the country, Nigeria, and a huge favour to their young children who depend on their parents, uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters to vote in a seasoned candidate for a brighter future.
Okonkwo assured the women that politically, everything has changed with the new electoral act from its old-fashioned way of electoral process as the new law allows electronic transmission of results from the polling booths.
“The new electoral act has rendered political contractors, ballot box snatchers and result sheets manipulators impractical,” she noted.
She said that the new rule stated that no one can vote if the accreditation machine does not read his or her PVCs and that the number of votes cast must not be more than the number of voters accredited.
“To be accredited, the machine must either read the voter’s fingerprint or the face and nothing more.
“Please get involved in political affairs of this country as it is a primary assignment. Ask your youths to go get their PVCs; let them learn how to take ownership of their lives. Drop this legacy for them to determine who leads them.
“They should stop being thugs, box snatchers or electoral violators. Nigerian youths consist of 65% of the current population, urge them to go get the vote power,” she said.
Okonkwo disclosed that in other geo-political zones, their elites and non -elites avail themselves of the time to register for the voter cards and appealed to all electoral age in the community to go get their powers to vote.
“There are lots of benefits to exercise one’s franchise. Get ready for this electoral franchise; take your whole family alongside of you to achieve this political landmark,” she said.