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  • * 'Be Ready To Vote Credible Leaders'...Prof Musa

By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief North-Central, north-central in Minna)

A university Don, Professor Dickson Achimugu Musa, has made a strong case for all eligible voters to get their PVCs and be ready to vote in 2023 general elections.

He argued that Nigeria cannot attain the desired socio-economic and political greatness comparable to the contemporaries world, if government and governance continue to rest on the shoulders of people who have no interest of citizens at heart.

Professor Musa said that Nigeria, since her independence in 1960, has remained under the control of people from a particular region and religion, stating that these and many more, may have largely accounted for the stunted growth and development of the various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Professor Musa made the observation at the maiden edition of a political awareness programme tagged, ‘Political Round Table Discussion’ with the theme: Nigeria and the issues of Now: 2023 elections in View, organised by the House on the Rock Church, Minna, in Niger state, at the weekend.

Nigeria, he said, has all that is needed to become one of the super powers among the third world countries, but why the country has remained stagnated since independence has been a source of concerns to him and other elite Nigerians across the different segments of the society.

Musa, who is Professor of Pharmacological Biochemistry and Biotechnology as well as the Director, Trans-Saharan Disease Research Centre, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai, in Niger state, lamented that Nigeria has whatever it takes to be great but years of bad leadership has stunted the political and socio-economic growth and development of the most populous black nation in the world.

With the 2023 elections beckoning, Musa is calling on the elites and other eligible voters not to allow another opportunity to elect credible leaders to waste, by ensuring that they come out en-masse and get their PVCs or re-validate the existing ones, and also be ready to vote for credible candidates with proven integrity to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, next year.

"The President Nigeria needs in 2023 is someone who has the knowledge of Nigeria’s numerous socio-economic and political challenges and is willingly ready to fix it within the shortest possible time for the country to come back alive", he said.

Professor Musa who particularly faulted the attitudes of Christians who erroneously believe that politics and political contests were ‘dirty’, however, encouraged faithfuls to join politics and be part of efforts at bringing sanity to the entire political system, come 2023 general elections.

Also speaking, Pastor PeteRock Sadiq said the political round table is aimed at raising the consciousness of women and youths in Niger state, Christians in particular, on the need to be part of the political processes that will usher in a new government, come 2023.

Pastor Sadiq expressed plans to ensure that the political Roundtable comes up monthly until eligible voters in Niger state are sufficiently enlightened on the importance of joining hands to build Nigeria of our collective dreams by voting for candidates to meet the needs and aspirations of Nigerians, next year.

The Pastor who expressed optimism that ‘Nigeria will be great again’, however told guests at the Political Roundtable which took place at the church auditorium, Minna, Niger state capital, to take home what they have learnt and encourage their wards and relatives to actively participate in politics, in order to vote out people who have nothing good to offer than actualizing their own personal gains.

In a related development, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has bowed to intense public pressure across the country concerning this week’s June 30 deadline for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), confirming its extension.

The Commission’s Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the extension Saturday at the Youth Vote Count Concert at the old parade ground, Abuja, did not however state how long the extension will last.

Designed to mobilise youths across the state for the ongoing nationwide CVR exercise, the awareness rally was organised by INEC in partnership with the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) and YIAGA Africa.

Assuring the Nigerians that their votes will count in every election in the country, Yakubu promised to ensure that the 2023 general elections will be the best poll ever conducted.

Addressing the crowd of young people, the INEC chairman disclosed that contrary to reports, the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for the ongoing CVR exercise will begin in October, this year.

“The youths want to know when the registration will end. I want to assure you on behalf of the commission that the registration won’t end on June 30. As long as we have you people trying to register, we will continue to register you. In the last five days, we have registered over 14,000 Nigerians in this place alone. We have about 50 voter registration machines,” he noted to the cheering of the gathered youths.

Continuing, he promised: “also, by next Monday, we will deploy more machines to register Nigerians. We won’t stop registration until we are satisfied that those who wish to register are given the opportunity to do so.

“When will your PVCs be ready for collection? PVCs will be ready for collection latest by October this year-long before the election. I want to thank you for making the PVCs the most popular Identification Card,” he commended.

Yakubu further urged the youths to ensure that they used the PVCs for the purpose it is meant for, stressing; “not just for opening of bank accounts.”

He assured the registrants that their votes will count in all elections, assuring that “Ekiti governorship poll is good, Osun will be better and 2023 general elections will be the best. Your votes will count. For those who are yet to register, kindly do so to vote.”

The head of the EU delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Samuela Isopi, who spoke earlier, charged the youths not to sell their votes, reminding them that they have the numbers to drive positive change.

“This is the start of a great change. We can feel the energy. Nigerians are mobilising and there is this feeling that this time they are ready to be drivers of change. You have the power to drive positive change. Get your PVC and use it. Your votes will count and don’t give up your power. Don’t sell your votes because if you sell your votes, you sell your future.

“Go out and challenge your leaders and stand for your values. This is the way to build democracy, to have better governance and a better Nigeria. The EU will stand by you and by all Nigerians to make Nigeria’s democracy stronger,” the EU delegation boss charged. (Additional reports from the Sun). NNL.

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