INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu
By Prince Chinedu Obi
The National Rescue Movement (NRM), one of the 18 registered political parties that survived the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) February, 2020 deregistration exercise, on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 hosted a One Day Summit on Democracy in Nigeria at Merit House Maitama, Abuja.
The summit provided opportunity forstakeholders to rob mind on a front burner issue in the country – insecurity.
Discussion during the summit was centered on the theme “Elections: Participation and Safety in the Face of Growing Insecurity.”
The Summit was motivated by the increasing attacks on INEC facilities, especially in parts of Southern Nigeria.
The Nigerian State has recently been faced with several security related challenges. The situation has become even more worrisome as the nation approaches 2023. In the circumstance, there is certainly no doubt that election managers have become endangered species in today’s Nigeria, judging by cases of harassment, maiming and often times, killing of INEC officials during elections, hence, the NRM convocation of stakeholders to brainstorm on strategies and next steps towards bringing this ugly trend to an end.
The Summit, which had in attendance distinguished Nigerians, political leaders, security agencies, professional bodies, opinion leaders, youth and women as well as gentlemen of the press, x-rayed the various issues affecting the electoral process in Nigeria and particularly the emergent insecurity in the country and the challenge posed by this horrible development to national security and safety of citizens as they strive to carry out their assignments in the case of INEC officials and other Nigerians as they exercise their civic responsibilities.
The summit identified voter apathy and non-committal attitude of the elites, especially corporate entities in the electoral process as products of electoral violence in Nigeria.
A striking outcome of the Summit, which was presented as part of National Rescue Movement’s solutions to the present disorder in the country was the unveiling to all Nigerians, especially the teeming and versatile youths, the ever resourceful Nigerian women, Nigerians with all forms of Disability, and all those who desire to build a new and inclusive nation of the founding father’s dream, one among numerous Good Governance programmes of the NRM, titled VOTERS’ REVOLUTION. It is an established fact that the Almighty God in His infinite mercies endowed Nigeria with every necessary potential – human and material, which any country run by sane leaders require to be great, but unfortunately, it is glaringly clear that Nigerians over the years, have not been lucky with responsive and patriotic leadership. This deficit cut across board, hence, Nigeria has continued to struggle with basic needs and essentials of life. It is indeed very unfortunate that in the 21st century, when other countries are seeking a better environment for their citizens in space, Nigerians are still enmeshed with issues as primary as basic dividends of democratic governance, namely, electricity, clean water, roads and basic social infrastructures, etc.
Security of lives and property and all other rights guaranteed by the 1999 constitutions have also eluded Nigeria as a nation. Nigeria today has carelessly become the poverty capital of the world. Unemployment irrepressibly hitting above 30% with a huge external debt burden.
The consequences of these maladies, therefore, are manifest in total and massive apathy, disbelief and disgust in the system, large scale corruption, underdevelopment and corresponding insecurity now threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria as a united nation. Voters Revolution is NRM’s response to the sad situation described above. It is aimed at mobilizing and sensitizing Nigerians, who seem to have lost faith with the polity to use their votes in all future elections to redress their regrets. And by so doing, elect credible and capable leaders, who will work towards reinventing Nigeria as envisaged in the NRM vision of shared peace, shared productivity and shared prosperity.
It is clearly evident that the NRM is not just a political party, it is also a political movement seeking to create a new dawn for Nigeria for the resuscitation of hope as well as redemption of the nation from years of bad leadership and to usher in a new beginning.
NRM is committed to getting it right for Nigeria, the country having been unfortunately dragged through the path of underwhelming performance. NRM Voters Revolution is a vehicle for LIBERATING Nigeria from hopelessness and the gale of current stagnation. The NRM believes that the dissatisfied youths and citizens rather than dissipate energies in violent demonstrations and destruction of public assets as we have seen in the burning down of INEC facilities and Police stations in some parts of the country, Nigerians should re-strategize by invoking the power of their votes during future elections to change this misnomer and put the nation on the part of progress by electing credible and qualified Nigerians at all levels of leadership.
NRM believes that “the peoples’ vote is their power and that votes certainly count; if votes do not count, politicians will not engage in the act of vote buying and deploying large sums for the purpose. Therefore, the NRM invites all Nigerians who hitherto feel dissatisfied in the system to join the Movement in this Voters Revolution campaign and sensitization programme for a better Nigeria. Interestingly, INEC recently announced the commencement of a revolutionary online voters’ registration exercise.
It is time to take a chance! Nigerians of voting age should get registered and ensure that they collect their PVC. The NRM encourages all Nigerians of voting age who have so registered to also come out on all election days and cast their votes for candidates of their collective interest. And defend the votes by ensuring that the actual votes are counted and announced accordingly at designated voting and collation centers.
The NRM invites the Media, both mainstream and social media practitioners to join the movement in this campaign for a better Nigeria. The NRM noted that in 2019, Nigerian youths spent a minimum of fifty Naira per vote to achieve about 120 million votes that determined the winner of BBNaija. Incidentally, in the same year, the nation’s Presidential election winner, runners up and other candidates that ran for the Presidency struggled within 60 million votes, which is approximately half of the votes generated by Nigerian youths for a mere reality show.
As we approach 2023, and in future elections, let the Voters’ Revolution begin. Nigerians and the youths and women in particular should translate the passion expressed in BBNaija to our political system for a better and progressive Nigeria. There is no doubt that women and youths constitute the larger percentage of those who vote at elections. To make votes count, we must unite to vote out those who have let us down over the years. We can do it… yes we can! Join the movement NOW! Visit NRM website on www.nrm.org.ng. Prince Chinedu Obi is the National Publicity Secretary, National Rescue Movement, lives in Abuja