PVC Registration Not Enough – Prof Okon, Effanga, Others Tell Nigerians At Kristina Reports 4th Dialogue Series
Nigerians have been reminded that it is not enough to just get registered as voters through the ongoing Continuous Voter’s Registration (CVR) exercise of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Professor of Development Communication and Advocacy, Professor Godwin Bassey Okon stated this on Friday, July 1, 2022 while delivering his Keynote Lecture on theme: “Nigeria’s Third Transition: Media, Economy and the 2023 Polls in Perspective” at the Kristina Reports 4th Anniversary Dialogue Series at the Royal Banquet Hall of Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“It is not enough to be registered as a voter, as much as it is the right thing to do, it is more important that electorates should also bother to know the minds and background of those they want to elect as leaders. One of the problems with Nigeria is that in 1999 it elected those the nation never knew their intentions for the country, 24 years after, we should not repeat the same mistake.”
Prof. Okon, who described Politics as “the conveyor belt of democratic transition with the former defining the economic outlook of a given nation”, charged Nigerians to interrogate the electoral process, which he described as the conveyor belt of democratic transitions, the electorates and the electoral umpire need to properly scrutinize those who want to take over the reins of power.
“I do not subscribe to the idea that just anyone should be elected. We should check their precedents, understand their passion and interest in making the nation work for us all.”
Prof. Okon equally pointed out that “effecting the changes that we sincerely desire does not just end with voting on the balloting day, we should put the government to put them on their feet so we can get the necessary changes that we should have and enjoy the benefits of electing good leaders.”
On his part, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Rivers State, Obo Effanga, speaking during the Panel Session at the event, expressed the need for Nigerians to get registered to be able to vote and also make sure that they carefully vote who will better serve their interest.
In his Goodwill Message, the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Bonny Kingdom, His Majesty, King Dr Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, CON, JP, Perekule XI, commended the Management of Kristina Reports for using the occasion of their fourth anniversary as a platform for discussing issues around Nigeria’s Third Transition, noting that the Media should amplify its role of setting the right agenda for the next democratic dispensation.
He commended the Publisher/CEO of Kristina Reports and his team for their sustained mainstreaming of grassroots related issues, developmental and social good in its four years of operation, urging them deepen their professionalism and depth of reportage while maintaining their focus on the public good.
Supporting the previous speakers, Chairman of Bonny Local Government Council, Dame Anengi Barasua Dagogo-Wilcox who was represented by the Deputy Press Secretary, Boma Waribor emphasized on the need for INEC to provide a level playing field for all to freely participate without preference for one party or the other.
The Bonny Council Boss implored the electoral body to extend the date for registration as more young people are willing to be part of the process by registering as voters.
Others Panel Discussants, which was moderated by the Head of Station, Super 96.3FM, Mr. Segun Owolabi, included a former Directing Staff of the Institute of Security Studies, Mr. Larry Pepple, who was represented by the Public Affairs and Government Relations Manager of Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited (MPNU), Dr. Bara Kabaka Brown, Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr Emi Membere-Otaji, and the Director General of the Bonny Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BOCCIMA), Mrs. Constance Nwokejiobi, advised INEC to tighten the nuts and ensure that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) functions optimally and strengthen its systems to forestall hacking by politicians and their agents.
They opined that INEC can only get the confidence of Nigerians if they are fair to all irrespective of their political parties.
In his remarks, the immediate past Commissioner for Information and Communication and State Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Pastor Paulinus Nsirim called for a renaissance of societal values, saying that this was key to entrenching responsible conduct during elections, enjoining those occupying public offices to constantly remind themselves of their stewardship of public privileges and resources.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kristina Reports, Godswill Jumbo stated that the Management of Kristina Reports deemed it apt to dedicate its fourth year anniversary celebration converging stakeholders “to put heads together with us on the theme of this dialogue towards contributing meaningfully to the social good of Nigeria”.
Jumbo informed that Kristina Reports, a virtual news medium cum online newspaper based in Port Harcourt, carved a niche for itself “by investigating the actual problem that fuels problems the most in our polity”, pointing out that “our findings revealed the nagging problem of under-reporting the periphery of the periphery. We saw a missing gap in the coverage of the grassroots by the mainstream media”.
On his part, Chairman of Kristina Reports Editorial Board, Dr Ibituru Pepple chronicled the history of the organization and the progress it has achieved within the past four years, commending critical stakeholders who have supported the organization since its inception, assuring that with greater support the news medium will strengthen its platforms for mainstreaming issues germane to the polity.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to ten deserving staff of the organization namely: Dr Ibituru Pepple for Consistency in Contributions to Knowledge Development; Boma Waribor, Most Versatile Staff; Eliel Bluejack, Contributions to System Stability; Emmanuel Nwafor, Most Enterprising Staff; Susan Pepple, Sustained Value Addition; Ibi-Iwari Jumbo for Contributions to System Optimization; Clement Udom, Contributions to Content Development; Blessing Aseminaso, Responsive Performance; Collins Jumbo, Consistency in Content Development; and Nengi Bluejack as the Most Versatile Intern.
Some dignitaries who attended the event included the, former General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation (RSNC) and Director of Research, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communication, Sir Celestine Ogolo, State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Stanley Job Stanley, who was represented by his Vice, Mr. Okechukwu Maru, and Corporate Affairs Manager of Heirs Holdings Oil and Gas, Mr. Segun Aigbe.
Others were the State Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), Mr. Shittu Mohammed, who was represented by Mrs. Doris Ezeh, Acting Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State, DC Claire Okpo, represented by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC Olufemi Ayodele; Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Bonny, Capt. Adamu Mohammed, represented by the Base Information Officer (BIO), Lt. Lengshak Gotodok; Commander of the Commissioner of Police Monitoring Unit (CPMU), Rivers State Police Command, CSP Grace Wonwu, represented by Inspector Blessing Nyeche; Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Rivers State Chapter, Chief Adi Wali; Vice Chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lady Daba Benebo, South-South Editor of BusinessDay Newspaper, Ignatius Chukwu, and former Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Blessing Nwikina, amongst others.