Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Barely 24 hours to Presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria, women have being called upon to take active part in electioneering process so as to join in shaping the future of their children.
Mrs Ngozi Mbachi, the President of Rotary International Club of Awka Metropolis District 9142 made the call on Thursday during the club’s weekly fellowship in Awka.
She called out to Nigerian women, especially women based in Anambra, to come out en masse to cast their vote to preferred candidates and be sure that their vote will count.
Mbachi said that women are more committed in areas of life where they are convinced would make a difference in their living condition and assured the women that active participation in electoral process was one of the areas.
“Women you are more passionate in handling and viewing issues be it domestic or otherwise and successes of varying degrees are being achieved. Politics is not excluded, come out and be part of history,’’ she said.
Mbachi said rotary preaches joint development of home and nation at large and urged women not to leave the duty of nation building to the men alone as it would not come out more progressive.
She said that a show of solidarity by coming out to vote, shunning vote buying or any form of political inducement, was highly needed at this political dispensation.
Mbachi said that women have the right to vote, it’s their right as well as a responsibility and urged women to support and promote peaceful elections by coming out to vote peacefully so that other electorate would emulate them.
She said that women have the ability to vote and should shun lukewarm attitudes and join force in consolidating the country’s democracy.
She appealed to the men and youths to also be part of peaceful electoral process by shunning vote bribery, electoral violence and developing the spirit of sportsmanship rather than do-or-die approach of getting power.
Dr Dennis Ekemezie, a member of the club and a senior staff of National Orientation Agency NOA enlightened the members on how to eliminate void votes, vote buying or selling and electoral crisis.
Ekemezie said NOA was on voter information educating voters to go out en masse to vote for their preferred candidates on February 16 to elect the President and National legislators and on March 2 for election of state lawmakers and governors where applicable.
He said that electoral process for 2019 general elections would be to accredit and vote. This would commence by 8am to 2pm and said that any voter on queue before 2pm would be allowed to vote no matter the time.
Ekemezie said that it would be continuous voter exercise as electorate who voted and wanted to watch and protect his vote would be allowed to stay till the presiding INEC officers call out the vote cast and other related process.
He said that the process would be transparent and urged that no one foments trouble and wait for the pasting of the results at the end of the vote casting.
Ekemezie said that due to tight space in the ballot paper resulting from too many political parties taking part in the election, that index finger would be more appropriate to use in casting the vote to avoid void votes.
“NOA has for the past 50 days been educating the electorate both those in urban and rural cities on dangers of vote buying selling or electoral violence of any form,’’ Ekemezie said.
Mr Henry Ekwueme another member of the club commended Ekemezie for the quality enlightenment and advised that more enlightenment be done in rural communities to avoid void votes.
Prof Ralph Okigbo of Botany Department in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and a charter President of the club urged all voters to come out to vote conscientiously.
He said that vote buying was a crime to humanity and advised all voters or INEC workers to shun the idea of accepting political inducement.
Mr Uche Chiadi another member of the club who addressed members said that voters should ensure that they go to their polling unit with INEC voter card.
Chiadi said that any voter who tries to vote with fake card or faulsify electoral process would be arrested by the security agents.
Chief Felix Akosah said that voters should be security conscious and play very safe during the election and advised against youth playing football on the day of elections.
Akosah said that women should also watch out so that their younger ones do not get involved in any from of electoral malpractices.