The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has expressed worries over a large number of uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) by eligible voters in the Southeastern region.
In a statement issued by the organisation’s spokesperson, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, on Tuesday, the group condemned political apathy among the residents of the region shown already in their unresponsiveness to the collection of PVCs.
Ohanaeze warned that it is goals that win games in football, and not dribbles, saying a lot of people only make empty noise on the internet without exhibiting political behaviour at the polls, despite the extension of the collection of PVCs by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Ohanaeze expresses concern that there are thousands of permanent voters’ cards that are yet to be collected by their rightful owners.
“To this end, Ohanaeze draws a distinction between robust campaigns and social media activism on one side and voting during an election on the other.
“While the modern campaigns cannot be delinked with the Internet, in what some call technological determinism: that is, the thinking in some quarters that the Internet drive the historical, economic, political and cultural changes, in reality, it is the voting behaviour of the group that determines electoral outcome at the polls.
“In other words, while dribbling the opponent in a football match is key, it is the number of goals scored that will ultimately count. It is therefore very strange that an Igbo of whatever class or creed will be reminded of the need to vote in the forthcoming general elections”, the statement read.
Meanwhile, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has applauded Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi for declaring two days as a public holiday for people of the state to collect their PVCs.
Ohanaeze also urged other governors to follow suit in allowing their people to go to INEC offices and collect their PVCs ahead of the general elections which begin with the presidential election on February 25.
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide commends Engr. Dave Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi State and the Chairman of South East Governors Forum over his decision to declare a two-day public holiday to compel all the public servants in the State to obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC).
“This is as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) extends the collection until Sunday, January 29, 2023.
“While commending Governor Umahi for his pragmatic sensitization of the Ebonyi populace towards the forthcoming elections, Ohaneze Ndigbo calls on all the Governors of Ohanaeze states to apply the Ebonyi paradigm in their respective jurisdictions.
“Similarly, the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) led by Chief Emeka Diwe is also requested to deploy their grassroots prowess to implement a policy of “no PVC, no community rights” in all the Igbo communities across the entire Igboland.
“Emphasis is hereby made that no genuine Igbo should allow local, private or selfish interests to override the Igbo collective interests. Every Igbo should therefore realise that the PVC and voting on the election day are the sinequanon for the actualisation of the Igbo collective desideratum for 2023”, Ohanaeze said.