2023: TMC sensitises members on voter registration, political participation
Muslim News Nigeria June 6, 2022
Choose leaders based on competence, says …Amirul Awwal.
Why Muslims must get involved in the political process – Waali
Physical registration, issuance of PVCs end on June 30 – INEC
A faith-based organisation, The Muslim Congress (TMC) on Sunday organised a special monthly adhkar and election sensitisation programme for its teeming members as Nigeria prepares for the much anticipated 2023 general elections.
The elections will usher in new political leaders at both state and national levels.
Muslim News reports that most political parties in the country have held their primaries, just as some others, including the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, are still undergoing the process of choosing a flagbearer from among their presidential hopefuls.
At the special event, which took place at Da’wah Centre, Ijesha, Lagos, TMC, one of the leading Muslim Organisations in Nigeria, invited officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state to educate its members and the general public on the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise and other electoral matters.
Speaking with Muslim News, the Waali of The Muslim Congress in Lagos State, Mallam Tajudeen Yusuf Olusesi, said the vision of TMC is to be the foremost Islamic organisation guiding, influencing and setting agenda for societal reformation in line with the dictates of Almighty Allah.
He noted that Muslims need to get involved in the political process if they want to reform the society.
“We felt that as an organisation, we cannot continue to take the back seat and keep on complaining that they are not doing it well. We need to be involved if truly we are out to reform the society in line with the Qur’an and Sunnah.
“Doing this is not by mouth; it’s by being eligible to vote. That is why the first thing we are doing is to organise our people, talk to them about good governance and invite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Lagos State to give our people orientation on how to go about the voter’s card registration and of course how to make impact that we really deserve in the society,” he said.
According to him, democracy is not the best form of government, but since it is what we practise in Nigeria, we have to be part of it.
“The Qur’an told us that Allah will not change our condition until we change it ourselves. So, democracy is the system of government being practised. We know it’s not the best form of government but that’s what we are doing, and we have to be part and parcel of the game so that we can play a very significant role in the emergence of who is going to be the leader of the state and country.”
The Guest Speaker, Alhaji AbdurRazaq AbdusSalam popularly known as Abu Umar Al-Faruq advised Nigerians to choose leaders based on morality and competence.
According to him, “We should vote based on morality of the candidates. If I belong to a party, I can vote a candidate not from my party as long as I am convinced that the other person has a better moral standing.
“The reality is that democracy allows us to put out a mad man. Supported with money, he would win the election. But it is now our own duty to look at the morality of the candidates, and choose based on it, competent, tested performers. Not just because this one is my townsman or party man, their morality should be the key factor.”
Abu Umar who is also the Amirul Awwal of TMC spoke on the theme, Towards Good Governance.
During his presentation, the renowned author highlighted five basic factors to success, starting with faith (reference to Qur’an 28; 36; 22: 41; and 3:110), regular self appraisal (reference to observation of Salatul tawbah every night), simplicity (which has to do with living a simple life, no matter your class, richness), monitoring (especially the masses’ living conditions), and punishing erring officials, irrespective of their statuses.
Speaking further, he said, “We also talked about preparing for the elections. Most people just know that they want to vote, they don’t have any idea about the party system, the electoral system, what happens to votes after dropping them. They don’t know, they don’t care. So, we have come to educate and sensitise them so that they have an idea of what to do when it’s time to vote and how to make sure that their votes count.”
INEC was represented at the programme by Mr Kemi Oyedotun, Head, Voter Education, INEC, Lagos State and Mr Felix Daramola, Head, Electoral Operations, INEC, Lagos State.
Both of them commended the initiative of TMC, saying it is a welcome development.
“This initiative is very good. I like it. We have a lot of people here, and we are happy that we could reach a large number of people. I know they would pass the information to others as well. It’s a very welcome initiative,” Oyedotun stated.
Daramola on his part, stressed that faith-based organisations are critical partners in the electoral process.
“They are part and parcel of the stakeholders. They have adherents and followers who they are meant to educate and sensitize about the electoral process. It’s a welcome development. We are glad to be here because we have equally visited some churches. So, it’s a pleasure to be here to represent the Commission and sensitize our people,” he added.
Daramola also hinted that the registration process will close by June 30, noting citizens who have registered since last year can now get their cards.
“The Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise started on 26th of June 2021. It is going to end on 30th of June 2022. Essentially, the CVR is a dictate of the Electoral Act 2022. It is one of the mandates of the Commission. It is done for people who have just attained the age of 18, those who could not register before, or those whose cards are defaced or bad, or those who want to transfer their voting points to another place. That’s the essence of the exercise.
“We are equally issuing voters cards to those who have registered. In Lagos today, we have over a million old, uncollected PVCs. It is important to also mention that PVCs are out for those who registered last year under the Continuous Voters Registration exercise. They can collect these PVCs during the working days in our main office in Sabo, Yaba or the local government offices,” he said.
“Let me add that the online registration closed last month. What we do now is for you to come to our centers and register. We have devolved the CVR centers beyond the local government. We now have it at newly created polling units so that access can be very easy for our people. That’s what we are doing.”
The INEC official said people who fail to get their voters cards are indirectly electing bad leaders. He added that most Nigerians wait for the very last minute before they join the process.
In his own separate remarks, Oyedotun, who is the Head of Voter Education warned against multiple registrations, saying those with defaced cards should visit the office to file their complaint.
“As electorates, we should shun multiple registrations. If you have registered once, it’s okay. Don’t register twice. If your card is defaced or you have issues with your card, please come to our office to rectify it. There is no need for you to register again. Shun multiple registrations; that’s my advice.”