By Cecilia Ijuo
A socio-cultural group, Iko Udama,
has called on Nigerians to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from designated centres as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Chairman of Iko Udama, Mr Amodu Achema, said this at the end of the group’s Annual General Meeting in Abuja on Saturday.
He said it was better for Nigerians to turn out enmass while the forthcoming elections were still months away than wait till the last minute.
Achema said while it was not bad to speak about one’s preferred candidate, what would determine the outcome of the election was votes cast.
“The collection of PVC has commenced across the country and as a group, we are calling on citizens to make it a priority to pick them up.
“What will make the difference is not much of what is said in the media or other platforms but ensuring that we collect our PVC and come out to vote on election days,” he said.
On recent attacks on INEC offices in parts of the country, the chairman said it could cause setbacks to the commission as well as affect the overall outcome of the elections.
He said there were legal procedures for airing one’s grievances if any, rather than attacking government facilities.
He said it was important for relevant authorities to clearly interpret what two third majority meant.
He said, “from what is playing out in the runoff to the 2023 general elections, we might be witnessing a replay of the 1979 election.
“In the case of a runoff for instance what two third actually means will still come to play.
“I want to state that Iko udama is not saying there will be runoff election, we are only saying from permutations from political analysts, it will be good to be ready for anything.
“While no one knows the surprises that might spring up from any of the parties in terms of landslide victory, there is no harm factoring in some exigencies so we do not get caught napping.
“Above all, we pray Nigeria wins.”
On activities of Iko Udama, Achema said the group, with membership from across Nigeria, had education and healthcare as priority.
He said the group had offered scholarship to brilliant students from poor backgrounds as part of its goals.
He further said the scholarship, which was from primary to tertialy institutions, was meant to help children from poor homes to achieve their dreams.
“Nothing is as depressing as having a dream and not being able to fulfil it because of the circumstances of one’s birth.
“So, we decided to play our part to best of our ability as a group to help fulfil these dreams,” he said.
The chairman further said the group, funded from donations by members, other individuals and partnership, had also intervened in other areas.
He said the group was on ground in Kogi to give palliatives to victims of the flood that ravaged the state recently.
Achema said the dedication from members of the group, particularly the various committees and state chapters, was commendable.
He said the group had plans to improve on its intervention in 2023.
Dr Ibrahim Benjamin, Chairman, Kaduna State Chapter of Iko Udama, said the group would continue to map out strategies to positively affect the lives of the downtrodden.
He said the group, which comprised professionals from different fields of endeavour, would continue to contribute to national development.
On 2023 elections, Benjamin, who is a Consultant Family Physician, said Iko Udama was playing its part by sensitising Nigerians to the need to vote wisely.
He said “leadership accounted for a high percentage of how a country fared and for us as a group that is paramount.
“We are advocating for a well designed and well thought out template on what makes for a good leader.
“When this is in place, it will help guide Nigerians on who to vote for when the time comes.”
Dr Yusuf Saeed, Head of Membership Recruitment of Iko Udama, said the recruitment committee often went through rigorous process in admitting members.
According to him, the group admits people with proven character as well as people that believe in the goals of the group.
He said the 2023 general elections would offer Nigerians another opportunity to exercise their franchise.
Saeed said citizens should avoid violence, vote buying and other practices that might mar the elections, adding that there was a need to ensure smooth transition.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman