A former Nigerian head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has said that it is the civic responsibility of every Nigerian to have a Personal Voter’s Card (PVC).
Gowon, the guest of honour, who was represented by his brother, Dr Dauda Gowon, said this at a youth concert for PVC awareness organised by a non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE).
“I came here so that I can address people who don’t have PVCs. If you don’t have, please make it a point of civic responsibility that you go and get the PVC.”
Furthermore, the general said that a lot of youths’ experiences in the ongoing voters’ registration exercise have not been encouraging.
To buttress it, he gave an example of a young man who left his house in the early hours of the morning, around 3am, in order to arrive on time at the registration centre. The young man, who was using a torch, got apprehended as a criminal by the police for desiring to perform his civic responsibility.
He also appealed to the government to make the registration exercise less stressful in order to enable the youths get involved in the exercise, which would make them participate in the upcoming 2019 elections.
“The closing date is August 17 but I want to appeal to the government to please extend this date so that people will be able to register.
“Nigeria deserves good leaders and Nigeria is a God-given country, so youths should rise to the challenge, get their PVCs and vote for their leaders.”
He, advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put a special system in place, which would make it easier to get the PVC so that more people can be involved in the registration process.
Also, a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Kingsley Moghalu, said that due to the fact that Nigerian youths are becoming more aware of the challenges of the country, it is necessary for them to get their PVCs in order to be able to vote in the 2019 elections.
He said the country needs visionary leaders who would take the country to greater heights and so it is time the youths took their destinies into their hands by voting for the right candidate, regardless of the party.
He, therefore, called on the youths to desist from selling their votes, while also calling on politicians not to buy votes.
He said a lot of resources and structures like good hospitals, roads are needed in the nation including good and quality education and these can only be done with the right leaders at the helm of affairs.
“2019 is not just another election. It is a matter of survival for our country. It is a choice and since we are in a democracy, we should be able to vote for the leaders of our choice rather than selling our votes.
“Our destiny is not in selling our votes for N5000, the hospitals are not functioning, the schools have collapsed so why do you have to sell your votes and still be living in penury.
“So, I want to appeal that if you must sell your vote, sell it for N5 million rather than the usual N5,000 politicians are paying.”
He also approved the ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill’, saying that it would encourage the youths to come out and participate in politics.
Also speaking, the chief executive of CODE, Mr Hamzat Lawal, said that the PVC is the power of the tongue to decide the future of the country.
He, further called on youths to mobilise and come out on election day and vote for people with competence, who are reliable, tested and trusted, who are interested in leading and not people who want to rule over us.
He encouraged the youths to hold the leaders accountable as this would help check excesses in governance, which would make the country better.