Worried by the huge number of Nigerians of voting age without the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), the National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity, at the weekend, held a nationwide awareness walk/campaign on the importance of PVCs and voter registration exercise.
The campaign, which was carried out under the association’s ‘Our Votes Count (OVC)’ advocacy platform, saw the massive deployment of members on the streets to share fliers and educate the public on the importance and how to go about registering for their PVC taking advantage of the extension of the exercise.
In Lagos State, the campaign took place in Alimosho, Agege, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Mainland and Lagos Island Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Led by the Cap’n of the Ikeja Zone also known as the Panama Deck, Mr. Godstime Awoze, explained that the Zone decided to raise awareness because the possession of the PVCs would go a long way in shaping the future of the country.
He noted that the awareness was also aimed at educating more Nigerians on the recent extension for voter registration hitherto slated to end by August 17 but now extended to August 31.
The walk which covered some parts of Ikeja and its environs, included sensitation to the popular Alade Market through the ever busy Awolowo Way down to Ipodo Market to connect Ikeja under bridge via Computer Village and Allen Avenue.
Flyers and leaflets containing vital information as it relates to the purpose and importance of the PVCs was distributed to commuters, traders and artisans, while questions were equally answered from members of the public.
Awoze said the decision to have PVCs will ultimately determine the value of money in ones account, the number of jobs and businesses to be created over a giving period of time.
the newspaper that in the course of the campaign, the association discovered so many challenges facing eligible voter in their bid to register for PVCs.
According to him, one frequent complaint was the inability of the ad hoc INEC staff in various centres to cope with pressures occasioned by the last minute rush to beat the registration deadline.
He added that the voters complained that in situations where over 200 people show up for registration in some centres, the INEC staff would inform them logistics would only allow them register about 60 people.
Awoze stated that the objective of the campaign was to ensure that eligible voters in Lagos State and by extension Nigerians use the opportunity of the extension of voter registration to make sure enough citizens of the state, register and collect their PVCs.
Also speaking, the newly elected international President of the organisation, Kwaghbunde Gbahabo, disclosed that the National Association of Seadogs would in the next one year slightly shift focus from its concentration on charity and humanitarian ideals to advocacy in other to push further the agenda and debate on good governance in which public officials are held accountable to the people.
On his part the Lagos State Coordinator of the Association, Uchenna Nnoli, stated that Lagos State being the commercial nerve centre of the nation, is key towards achieving a free and fair election in the country, hence all the field reports collected and collated during this exercise would be compiled and sent to INEC.
The National Association of Seadogs with branches all over the world, was granted Election Monitor status in the 2011 general elections by INEC, and has also applied to the electoral body to be part of the international election monitoring bodies for the 2019 general elections.