Place Competence First — Seadogs Association Urges Nigerians

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    The National Association of Seadogs better known as Pyrates Confraternity (Jolly Rogers and Hudson Decks) has urged Nigerians to place merit and competence as the to the polls later this month.

    This  call was made by the group’s Capoon, Olufemi Adesope, at a media briefing tagged “Our Votes Count Campaign” in Ibadan on Friday.

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    Adesope noted that the OurVotesCount initiative will be delivered using the Citizens’ Summit adding that it aims to achieve increased understanding of citizens’involvement in politics and governance.

    In his words: “#OurVotesCount initiative is delivered using the Citizens’ Summit as the Special Purpose Vehicle. The Citizens’ Summit is an interactive platform that aims to achieve increased and improved understanding of citizens’ involvement in the political and governance process of the country.

     

    “The Citizens’ Summit seeks to facilitate dialogue among Nigerian citizens, at home and in the Diaspora and from there, synthesizes divergent viewpoints in order to provide a common ground to galvanize action in respect of identified socioeconomic and political problems facing our dear nation.

     

    “It is often said that “a people get the leaders they deserve”, which can be interpreted in the following ways: The people have turned blind eye to the excesses of their leaders and deserve the quality of governance they are served. The (good or bad) leaders emerge in proportion to the quantum of citizens’ (good or bad) choices during elections”

    “#OurVotesCount program is directed towards public sensitization, citizens’ engagement, political education of the electorates and strategic engagement of the political parties’ candidates. The campaign program has come a long way and we are advancing the initiative in the 2023 electioneering period.

    “We have just concluded the first phase of the campaign program which is the PVC Collection monitoring exercises. The NAS-PC has deployed its members across the flagship to monitor the collection of PVC at various INEC offices across the country. This program, in all, had 171 monitoring reports that were entered into our web portal: www.ourvotescountorg.ng. Through this, we have provided a huge database of situation reports and on-the-spot observations that were uploaded on our database.

    “This program was initiated to support the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission; and to challenge the commission where necessary for improvement, building a strong and transparent electoral commission during elections.”

    Giving further details on the local monitoring of PVC collection in the State, he said further that they observed some discrepancies in the process.

    He said: “Across Ibadan and in Ogbomoso, Oyo state, where we did a local monitoring of the PVC collection at Ibadan North Local government, Ibadan Northeast Local Government, Oluyole Local Government, Ibadan Northwest Local government, Ogbomoso North, and Ibadan Southwest Local Government; we observed some discrepancies in the PVC collection processes. These discrepancies include hoarding of PVC cards by some overzealous INEC officials and non-availability of PVC cards even while the citizens biodata was seen vividly on the INEC database.

    “We found out that some INEC officials employed the services of the Nigeria Police Force and Vilgilante Groups to book citizens from gaining easy access to the PVC collection centers. All these observations raised a lot of concerns for us and the full report will be released by NAS in due course.”

    While appealing to the Nigerians on the reason why they must vote and elect credible candidates in the next elections, Adesope said: “Our organization is a non political organization and we have no political candidates in mind, we want candidates that are just and fair, candidates that will sympathize with the people and save Nigerians from the hardship.

    “So we are urging the people to vote, as every of their votes will count, they should also vote with their conscience, and vote for leaders with the capacity to lead Nigeria out of this misery.”

    He added that to build on the lessons and observations gathered during the PVC collection, they are set to organize a town hall meeting at Bodija Market on the 18th day of February, 2023 to advance public engagements activities and enlightenment of the generality of the citizens on the electoral processes and importance of their participation in the election.

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