Andy Esiet, Calabar
Turn out for the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) online registration exercise is poor in Cross River state .
As at yesterday, reports showed that the state registered about 1, 300 since the exercise started.
Many people have attributed this to lack of awareness campaign that suppose to capture the people at the grassroots and even in the city.
Mr Ededet Iyata said “we here in Awi, Akpamkpa Local Government Area have not heard much about the registration and now that they are talking of online before physical image capturing for some of us.
“I expect the politicians and the government to assist by taking the message to the people in the language they will understand. For now most people are not aware and are not interested because of the money they will spend online. How many of our rural dwellers listen to radio? We depend mainly on town cheers”.
Also commenting, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and a former Commissioner for Lands in the then Donald Duke regime, Etubom Bassey Ndem said, “apart from raising awareness a more practical step would be to create registration centres in the various wards, then incentivise the exercise with about N300 transport for each registrant”.
Ndem pointed out that, “ideally this should be pushed by the LGC chairmen. The Councillors and Supervisors should go round their LGAs with smartphones or laptops and data network to help rural Cross Riverians register on those laptops. 500 persons registering 100 a day can boost our numbers significantly”.
As part of effort to create awareness for the exercise, the Senator for Cross River Southern Senatorial District, Senator Gershom Bassey while thanking members of his constituent for their continued support and shared commitment to the development of the senatorial district and the state as a whole said, “our dear state is at a crossroads and we must take active steps to ensure that we reposition the state towards progress and development.
“The most effective way to achieve this is through voters’ registration and participation towards the 2023 general elections. I therefore enjoin all stakeholders in the Southern Senatorial District across party and non party lines to mobilize fellow constituency members of voting age, to exercise their rights and participate in the ongoing voters’ registration process”.
He stated that, “there is a general consensus that power will shift to the Southern Senatorial District in 2023, given the rotational nature of power in the state over the last 22 years, moving from the South, to Central and now the North. It is therefore imperative that the South captures its full voting capacity and exercises its right through critical mass voters’ registration, to enable the zone play its expected leadership role in the 2023 elections.
“This is particularly important for the teaming youth, who would be strategically positioned to play key roles in the next dispensation and the future of our dear state. I therefore urge the Southern Senatorial District youths, in fact, all Cross Riverians, to take this democratic exercise seriously and register en masse to vote. This is an opportunity for all Cross Riverians, especially young persons, to chart a new course for positive change and development towards the Cross River State of our dreams and I look forward to you all engaging in your civic responsibility”.