Aspirants jostling for elective positions in the forthcoming local government elections in Akwa Ibom State have been called upon to mobilize their constituents in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration and National Identity Card enrolment exercises, to demonstrate their capacity for leadership and grassroots acceptability.
Special Adviser to Akwa Ibom State Governor on Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Barrister Ekong Sampson gave the charge in an interactive radio programme on Planet FM, Akwa Ibom Mandate.
Barrister Ekong Sampson said any Nigerian who wishes to be taken seriously must have a national identity and a voter’s card. He reiterated that the voter’s card is ones access to the power valve and anyone who does not have it is politically impotent, having no grounds to speak and be taken seriously.
He also charged supporters and even critics alike, to show practical relevance. This, he said, can only be attained by possessing a voter’s card. Also stressing on the need to be enrolled for the National ID Card, he said anyone living without an identity is living blind.
To the local government election aspirants, Barrister Sampson said it is not just enough to aspire to be elected as a Councilor or Chairman of Council, but that every aspirant has to show capacity, and that, he said, has to be demonstrated in mobilizing the people to get registered and get their voter’s card.
“Aspirants who cannot mobilize their constituents to have their voters’ cards, have no business dreaming to become Chairmen of Councils or Councilors,” the Special Adviser said.
He opined that the challenge of governance at the grassroots is enormous and goes beyond buying goats, buying drinks and shouting your party mantra. “You have to demonstrate that you care for your people and in this time you have to do that by getting your people to go out massively and get their voters’ cards,” Ekong Sampson said, adding that this is the only way their support can yield real results.
In his assessment however, he noted that the level response of Akwa Ibomites to voters’ registration was commendable and indicative of the fact that democracy has taken root in Akwa Ibom State and that the people appreciate the value of participatory democracy, but maintained that there was still more to be done, as voters’ registration remains fundamental to participatory democracy.
He admitted that there have been some challenges, largely in terms of inadequate biometric equipment to drive the exercises, but expressed optimism that the issue will be addressed shortly, as he is still having talks with appropriate quarters.