by Mitchelle Uzorka
The Editor in Chief of Eveafrique Business and News, Ivy Davies Etokakpan, on Thursday 22nd February 2023 got featured on Health & Lifestyle with Jene Utomi on Radio Rivers 99.1FM to discuss ” Rebranding Nigeria through our votes ”
Keep reading to find out why it is important to vote at the 2023 General Election in Nigeria and the change your single vote can cause.
• What drives your passion for development in Nigeria in general and the Niger Delta region in particular?
Ans: “What drives my passion for Nigeria is simply this: what happens in Nigeria affects me as an individual. Besides, governance is about ‘all of us’, not just about the leaders. It’s like a corporate company with Labour Union to serve as a watchdog to the management over the welfare of staff. We do not have any other country but this one, so we can’t afford to fold our arms and watch things go wrong with our commonwealth because it affects all of us and our children’s future”.
“My passion for the Niger Delta is deeper ‘all about us’. This region has been blessed in so many ways especially the Niger Delta woman who had always been strong and industrious, going about her role in the family and society with steadfastness. I remember how we were raised to survive in the creeks. Then civilization came along and overran the region with all sorts. But the time has come for us to arise and shine! And this we must do as we go to the polls. It’s my major passion to see the next generation come to the consciousness of who and what they are. When people spin the narratives of the Niger Delta woman or man any which way they like, it doesn’t sit well with me personally which is where my passion lies, to reclaim that narrative of hard work, boldness and respect for the rule of law and for people.
• Nigeria Decides! what should we decide for at the polls?
Ans: “Nigerians should decide for our future individually, because we are each going to vote for the president of our nation. With the hope that our individual desires tally with our collective desire to have a working government for all regardless of our differences and preferences. So this week should be the most sober week of our dear nation and as such Nigerians should sit down to think deep as right thinking people in order to make the right choice. Then go out on Saturday to vote for this one person you and I know is equipped and qualified to change the narratives for us. Then go home hoping that our vote will count and that we’ll accept the result to live in continuous peace and serenity”.
• What should Nigerians decide against at the polls?
Ans: “We should decide against every form of evil and anything that is not towards nation building. For me I judge the presidential candidates based on their utterances (goals, manifestos). Therefore the one that is a statesman is the person I’m going to vote for. The fabric of our nation has been torn apart into tiny bits and we need a true statesman that will build this nation back for us”.
• Do you think our votes will count this time around?
Ans: “Yes. I think with the electronic voting system today our votes will count unlike when it was paper voting system. With the bimodal voting accreditation system(BVAS) ballot box snatching will be greatly minimized even though we cannot completely rule out the antics of some mischief makers and technology error but we pray that the majority of our votes will count and the winner when announced will be accepted without any further chaos”.
• What’s your advice for media practitioners during the election?
Ans: “For media practitioners assigned to cover the election I’m hoping that the management of the media houses and INEC would’ve equipped them with requisite items and information to facilitate their reportage. For instance providing transportation and bullet proof vests for reporters will help to keep them safe. Also as a reporter you must personally ensure your safety. This is very important because you need to be alive to tell your story. Therefore deploy all the tactics of safety as a journalist at the polls today. Lastly, I’ll advice them to be objective in reporting the electoral process.
• What should the electorate do on the day of election?
1. “Do not wear or carry anything branded with any party logo or sign. It is against the law. New entrants into politics should take note.
2. Wake up early to prepare to go out to vote. Carry anything you’ll need from your home for your comfort such as your medication, food, water etc before leaving for your accreditation center.
3. There’ll be a lot of walking about so wear comfortable, smart clothes and shoes. Get to your accreditation center early to be accredited. Wait out the time for voting at the designated space.
4. Follow instructions of INEC officials and the adhoc staff there. Be acquainted with the technology. Ask questions where you don’t understand.
5. Vote. Then observe that the process is free and fair before you leave.
6. Do not make any trouble. Let our friendships return as a people as we go to the polls to vote. Do not start a fight or take sides with any mischief makers that may be arguing around the polling unit. Walk away from such”.
• What are you last thoughts on Nigeria Decides?
Ans: “Don’t be afraid to come out to vote your candidate for the presidential election. There won’t be war. It’s our civic responsibility to vote”.
“Get up, get out calmly and nicely, go and vote your preferred candidates”. Let’s reclaim and rebrand our nation Nigerians!”
Health & Lifestyles encourages us to put aside our fears and go out in our teeming number to vote the right candidate we know will return our lost glory for us as a nation. God help us so!!!!