2019: CrowdPol stages 'I Pledge To Vote' concert in Calabar

By Kelvin Obambon

As part of its awareness campaign on the need for people, especially youths to take active part in deepening the democratic process, CrowdPol, a civic tech startup which helps citizens find, engage and mobilise support in politics and social good, Sunday, staged the 'I Pledge To Vote' concert championing voter's education and sensitization in Nigeria and Cross River State in particular, as it announced earlier in the month.

The concert which took place at the Millennium Park, Calabar, was organized in a way as to reflect CrowdPol's core value which is political neutrality.

 'I Pledge To Vote' concert became a melting pot of sort as candidates and representatives of major political parties in the state took turns to address the audience.

Speaking through his running mate, Engr. Wofai Ewa, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Barr. Eyo Ekpo, , reminded the crowd made up of mostly youths of their commitments and obligations to the nation.

He said the task of serving Nigeria, defending and upholding her honour and glory is not only for public office holders and those in the military, but the primary duty of everyone.

Describing the 'I Pledge To Vote' concert as a very significant and patriotic event, Ekpo, who was among dignitaries that arrived the Millennium Park early, said it is the duty of the people to elect the right leaders who would realize the vision of Nigeria's founding fathers.

He said: "It is such a great honour to be with you today. As you may know, we are here for a very significant and patriotic reason. We are here to remind ourselves of the great need to make a revolutionary pledge. This we cannot do without first of all reminding ourselves of our obligations and commitments to our nation, Nigeria and Cross River State.

"The words of our National Pledge are timely reminder to every young Nigerian, every young Cross Riverian and to every young person here today that the duty of serving Nigeria is not only for those who currently occupy public offices; that the task of defending Nigeria's unity is not only for the gallant men and women of our arm forces; and that upholding the honour and glory of the largest black nation on earth - the hope of the black race, is the primary duty of every single one of us here today.

"As young people, we are duty bound to have the right leadership in place. A leadership that leads by example and leads from the front. A leadership that understands the diversity of our people and the richness therein. A leadership that understands the innovative spirit of our young men and women and the gold mine therein. A leadership that stays true to our collective ideals and values..."

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Comrade Asu Okang, thanked organizers of the concert for their ingenuity in putting up the show to sensitize young people and make them understand the power in their votes.

He said the country is at the moment bedeviled with the kind of leadership that does not represent the aspirations of young persons and that the people are not pleased with it.

The commissioner urged youths to harness the competitive advantage inherent in their numerical strength to bring about the change they desire.

He said: "I thank you for this ingenuity in putting up this show, trying to sensitize young people to understand the might in their votes. Our votes as young people basically count at a time like this. Nigeria in itself is bedevil with the kind of leadership that you and I may not be pleased with. The leadership of this country may not clearly represents the aspirations of young people. And as young people, this is the time to muster our population to take advantage of our democratic dividends and ensure we create the change that we need."

While stressing on the need for the people to collect their Permanent Voter's Card (PVC) and also ensure they turn up to vote on the day of elections,  Okang appealed to youths to shun violence during and after the elections.

He however warned that government would ensure people who are bent on fomenting trouble during elections are dealt with.

"If we must create the change that we want, then our PVCs must count. I'm aware that so many young people have registered but have not gone back to collect their PVCs. It is important that you collect your PVCs. It is important that you guard them jealously because that is your right to vote. Your PVC is useless if you don't come out to exercise that franchise", he stressed.

Earlier in his welcome address, the CEO of CrowdPol, Mr Justus Oseuno said what CrowdPol is doing is to mobilize young persons to participate in the forthcoming elections.

According to him, "the INEC chairman has said that 2019 elections will not be complete without youth participation. And that is what we want to do. We want to activate every young person to go out and vote."

Continuing, he said the 'I Pledge To Vote' concert "is not a political party affiliated concert or campaign. It is a non-partisan campaign. We are not here to tell you who or which party to vote for. What CrowdPol is saying with the 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign is that every eligible persons should go out and vote. Get your PVCs and ensure that you vote on the day of elections. Vote for the candidate of your choice. Protect your vote and make sure it counts. The 'I Pledge To Vote' campaign is a revolution that has started and it is starting with you."
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