2023: Upsurge In Voters’ Registration In The South East, Lagos And Kano states

By uleiman Umaru

Ahead of the 2023, general elections, there have an upsurge in the registration of voters across the country. This is because of the awreness that have been created by Professor Mahmood Yakubu ,led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that with the Permanent voter’s card, PVC, voters have the power to vote out any government I power and vote  in the party of their choice.

 The recent attack of ST. Francis, Owo, Ondo state,  in the  south west geopolitical region, in which Raifu Arregbesola, a former governor of Osun state and  now minister of Interior, had said the National Security Council, NSC, had linked to the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, a 2015, breakaway faction of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram, may have encouraged  more voters from the Southern state and the Middle Belt to rush to register and collect their PVCs.

 The people of the south east, particular the traders , who have never found it necessary to register to collect the PVCs, Hmay have  suddenly woken up to be interested  on who governs them  both at the state ad Federal level  by obtaining their voters’ card in order to exercise their Franchise in the 2023, general elections.

INEC Deploys More Voters Registration Machines To The South East States To Cope With The Upsurge

 Take for instance at the Alaba International Market,in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, dominated by the Igbo traders, the Market Leaders had declared a day off for the traders who have not obtained their voter’s card to do so. They may have suddenly realised that instead of complaining all the  time  in the comfort of their shops that their business are not growing because of past and present government economic policies, they have to register and collect their PVCs,  to make the difference.

  At some of the voter’s registration centres around the Alaba market environment, sponsored Area boys were said to have attacked the traders to scare them away from Registering to obtain the voter’s card. There are fears in political circles, that the large turnout of people, particular,the traders in Lagos state may spring surprises in the 2023, general elections in the state.

 Many believe what is happening in the Alaba International market in Lagos state is not different from what is happening at the Onitsha market, in Anambra state and other parts of the country where traders had abandoned their shops, in their hundreds to go to any available INEC registration centre to seek for the PVCs.

Festus Okoye, Chairman of INECs Information and Voters’ Education Committee who has been linked to the unprecedented surge in the number of people seeking to register as voters ahead of the 2023, general elections, had said that this is not unexpected as Nigerians have suddenly realised that with the voter’s card they have the power to change any bad government by performing their Civic responsibility of voting in the 2023 general elections.

 There are indications that in some of the states where there are congestions at the registration centres, the Commission had intervened to ease the registration process to ensure that more voters register. Okoye, the Commission, Chairman of Information and Voter’s Education, had confirmed that they have released additional 209 machines to be deployed mainly to the south eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Eboyi, Anambra and Imo, and the south west of Lagos, including the north central state of Kano where people, particular, the traders have never taken elections serious because of their business, now do so.  Okoye , the INEC, Chieftain had described  the pressure  in these states by  those seeking to register in order to vote a government of their choice  in the 2023, general elections as’’ the most acute’’.

People believe that with their PVCs, they would have a choice to vote for the Presidential Candidate of any of the 18 political parties that had been registered by the INEC, to participate in the 2023, general elections.

 Going by the general feelings in the country, the parties that been described as minor in the past elections might spring surprises this time around that might sent message to the two dominant political parties, APC and the Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, that it is time to give way for another party to rule and implement their own economic policies for the country.

 There is no gain saying the fact that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National Leader of the APC, who incidentally is the Party Presidential Candidate is optimistic of winning the 2023, general elections. Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor ofNasarawa state and the National Chairman of the Party may have known that it is going to be a tough battle in the polls that he had assured Tinubu that members of the Party National Working Committee will work for him to win the 2023, general election.

Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and PDP Presidential Candidate who was said to have taken advantage of the opportunity provided while meeting the party delegates at their various states of the Federation before the party primary had urge the people to go out and register to obtain their PVC, for the 2023, general elections, election, to restore PDP back to power.

Given people’s desire to vote in the 2023 generation elections  may have informed  why the Nigerian Civil  Society, NCS,  has called on the electoral umpire ‘’to extend  the  Continous  Voter Registration , CVR, exercise’’. The current, CVR, going by IEC timetable and schedule of activities will end on June 30, 2022.

Prior to the CSC, intervention, there have also been several appeals by other groups and the Leadership of the political parties had the INEC, to extend the voters’ registration exercise to enable more Nigerians who have been denied the opportunity of registering in past exercises to do so. The Commission may have heeded the call as Professor Yakubu, the INEC, boss had aid that the Commission is considering extending the CVR, exercise. ”You will soon hear from us on the extension of the CVR, registration”, he had told Nigerians.

 Nigerians of voting age in different parts of the country, were said to have come out in their large numbers to register  in order to obtain their PVCs to vote in the 2023, general elections, which the the INEC, helmsman had said that the vote would count in the elections , which may have sent fear to  the Leadership  of the APC and PDP, at the state and Federal levels, that they may lose the 2023, general elections as there may not be room for rigging because of the resort to digital voting.

 Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former Governor of Kano state, where there is an upsurge in the registration of voters, who had dumped the PDP, to pick the Presidential Ticket of the Nigerian National Political Party, NNPP, that was said to have been founded by Bonniface Anniebonam, a Lagos based Clearing Agent 2001, is is ganing ground in the state as people rush to register in the state to vote for him. 

Another of such minors having widespread support across the country that may pose as a threat to the two dominant political political parties  who not happy with the two dominant parties, APC and PDP,  was Peter Obi, a one-time governor of Anambra state, on the ticket of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, and former Presidential Candidate of the PDP, who had dumped the party, to pick the Presidential Ticket of the Labour party.,  which was handed to him  by Professor Pat Utomi, who had intended to  be the party Flag bearer In the 2023, general elections.  ‘’We need Obi, to be Nigerian’s next President because he has good plans for the country to turn into a Productive nations instead of debtor nation as the Katsina state  born Nigerian President has turned Nigeria into over the last seven years.  It is not surprising why Nigerians see the 2023, general elections as a battle between Tinubu, Atiku, Kwankwaso and Obi . there is no gain saying the fact that the 2023, general elections may be different from previous election as voters may not vote for  parties but Individuals , who have something to offer the country but not looters. 

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