The Akoko Edo Development Association (aka Akoko Edo Forum), the umbrella group of Akoko Edo sons and daughters in Nigeria and the diaspora, has taken up the challenge of getting the people of the Local Government Area sensitized and mobilized on the critical importance and the need to participate in the ongoing INEC voter registration exercise.
This is contained in a press release by the Association and attested to by citizens within the locality.
The Association rose to the challenge following the report of apathy and loss of faith in the political system. According to a resident of Akuku community in Ward 1 (Name Withheld), “ we are not interested in any registration because our votes either don’t count or our elected officials do not care about representing our views to bring about development to the LGA.”
The feeling expressed by the resident is widespread across the LGA, including Igarra, Ibillo, Ososo, Lampese, Okpe, Ojirami, Uneme-Nekhua, and all other communities. The people believe that the LGA has been neglected and marginalized by successive State and Federal Government officials despite being one of the oldest LGA in the country.
With the historic efforts of Akoko Edo Forum on mass sensitization, and house to house sensitization of the people across the ten wards in the LGA, the apathy and lukewarmness hitherto demonstrated by most potential voters is changing drastically with multitude of individuals arriving at the only INEC registration center in Akoko Edo located at Igarra.
Unfortunately, despite the effort of the AEF preaching the importance of voters registration to the people in the LGA, the people’s faith in the government is further being eroded due to the hardship posed by lack of adequate resources at the INEC office, and officials who are unable to cope with the turnout after the successful mobilization efforts.
People who came from long distances were turned back due to inadequate data capture machines and personnel to register the the people.
Determined not to lose the gains so far achieved, the Forum has reached out to the Benin office of INEC and has been assured of every necessary support to ensure a seamless registration exercise within the limits of the available resources. The Commission admitted that they are challenged by shortage of personnel adding that its original plan of moving it’s officials from ward to ward had also been constrained by the spectre of insecurity within the area.
However, it has been agreed that greater synergy can be forged through improved and timely communication. To this end, stakeholders are to prearrange with the Commission when providing group logistics to transport people from any part of the LGA to avoid wastage of resources efforts and time.
The statement also made it clear that henceforth the Forum as well as the people themselves will insist and ensure that the staff of the Commission comply with it’s own specified work hours of 9am to 2.00 pm daily Monday to Friday and nothing less will be acceptable.
It is to be noted however that the continuous voter exercise which is scheduled to end 90 days before the general elections will be on break from the 20th of December, 2021 till early January,2022