By Isaac Aregbesola
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged Nigerians yet to pick their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to enable them vote during the 2019 General Elections
Deputy Director, Voter Education Department, INEC, Lakunuya Dorothy-Bello, made the call in Abuja during a rally to sensitise market women and general public on participation and peaceful elections.
The rally entitled: “the 2000-Strong National Women, Youth and Persons with Disability Walk for Peace and Massive Turnout ahead of 2019 General Elections’’ was held in Wuse Market and Gwagwalada.
The rally was organised by Preventing Election Violence and Education for Inclusion in Nigeria in collaboration with the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Embassy of Germany in Nigeria, INEC, Nigeria Women Trust Fund, Joint National Association of People Leaving with Disability and Market Women.
The INEC official assured the participants that their votes would count and that they should go out en-masse to acquire their PVCs.
“Go out and pick up your PVC if you have registered but have not picked it up.
“They are ready now, go out and pick your PVC because without PVC you cannot vote and I want to assure you that your votes will count,” she said.
The National Woman Leader of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Ruth Agbo, also called on the women and traders not to sell their votes but rather use their PVC to vote right.
Agbo said: “this rally is to sensitise the market people to use their power which is the PVC.
“And, we are changing the narrative, we are creating the awareness to make people know that PVC is our power; we must vote right, we must not sell our votes.
“Because if you do, you sell the future of our children and your own future and we cannot sell our votes for a bag of rice or cubes of seasonings.
“So, we want to do it right at this time and we also want to vote in a peaceful atmosphere,” Agbo said.
According to her, it is not about going there to fight, it is about casting your vote, monitoring your vote ensuring that your vote counts and voting right.
She said that was the essence of the rally, “and it is a walk for peace and massive turn out for the election process.”
She said the idea behind having the people living with disability at the rally was that “there is ability in disability that they are disabled does not mean that they cannot cast their votes.”
“They have their rights in the society, and we recognise them as such and that they are also part of us, there is no segregation or putting them aside and that is why we are all doing this together,” she added.
The Governance Advisor , ECES, Mr Dominique Weerts, said, “We are urging all the women not only those in this market but around the country to go out en-masse and vote for the coming elections this month and next month.
“We are insisting that all the people have to go out and vote because it is their right for this 2019. Election Day should be the happy day not a violence day .
“It is the right of every Nigerians to vote and they should Shun all manner of violence,” he said
The Project Advisor Gender and Inclusion, ECES, Cathy Latiwa, said ECES was European project for electoral support, preventing electoral violence and focusing on electoral education for inclusion in Nigeria.
“It is a project founded by Germany funded by EU and Germany and we are promoting inclusive democracy
“One of the thing we have to implement towards the 2019 election is that we are calling Nigerians to come out massive, get their PVC and vote peacefully.” (NAN)