The University of Abuja on Thursday played host to three entertainment big-wigs – Innocent 2Baba Idibia, Cohbams Asuquo and Helen Paul.
The two musicians and comedienne were at the school as part of their duties as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) youth ambassadors, to sensitize the students on the importance of actively participating in the election process through which their leaders are chosen.
The campus outreach, which was a collaboration between Nigeria’s electoral body INEC, the European Union (EU), European Center for Electoral Support and Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa recorded an impressive turnout.
The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu while speaking at the event assured the students that their votes, if cast, will count.
“I want to take an undertaking before you all here today, I assure you that your votes will count. In 2019, only the votes cast by Nigerians will count.”
Ensuring Nobody is left out
Responding to concerns by Cobhams about modalities in place to ensure that People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) are not denied the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right, the INEC boss said that magnifying glasses and special ballot papers for persons with partial visual impairment and blindness were part of the provisions that the electoral umpire was making available to ensure that PLWDs will be able to vote without interference, and discrimination.
2baba urged the youths to turn up and vote at the elections rather than just register and keep their personal voter’s cards (PVCs). The music legend reminded them that the power to determine their future lay in their choice of candidates for elective positions.
“Your vote is your bragging right, so get your PVC, so take your destinies into your hands, whatever you want to be in the next 10 years, start now. Let us go out and vote for our conscience. We have always been told that we are the future of Nigeria, it is our time now yet the old is still encroaching into our space. This coming election is our opportunity to change things, your destiny is what you make of it, so use it wisely.
“It is not enough to register and vote. You can also register as a member of a political party so that you begin to grow in the process so that your own will be different from our own.”
Helen while answering questions posed by the students advised them to vote only for persons who they are convinced will deliver on the dividends of democracy rather than be carried away by some politicians deceit.
The event was anchored by YIAGA’s executive director, Samson Itodo, and had the Executive Director of the ECES, Fabio Bergacchi; Head of the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlson; and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Professor Michael Adikwu in attendance.