The Ebonyi Sports and Youth Development ministry has intensified efforts to ensure that youths meet the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Aug. 31 deadline for registration for Permanent Voters Cards (PVC).
Mr Charlse Akpuenika, Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abakaliki that such efforts were yielding fruits.
Akpuenika said that putting into consideration the importance of the PVC, the ministry had ensured that over 70 per cent of youths in the state obtained their PVCs.
“We are optimistic that before the Aug. 31 deadline by INEC for the registration, the percentage will increase maximally with reports from various parts of the state on the issue indicating that participation in the exercise is encouraging.
“We intensified our enlightenment campaign through the mass media, online platforms, workshops and seminars among others, to sensitise the youth on the importance of obtaining the PVC,” he said.
The commissioner noted that youths were made to understand that their fate in the country beyond 2019, would be decided by how effective they utilise their votes.
“We pushed for a paradigm shift from using them for political thuggery, violence and other forms of electoral malpractice to those who through their votes, will ensure the election of credible leaders.
“The electorate is more enlightened and exposed presently as the period when it was deceived with phantom promises and all sorts of inducement is over,” he said.
He said that youths from the state had ample reason to fully participate in the electoral process to ensure that credible leaders were re-elected in the 2019 general elections.
“Gov. Davd Umahi for instance, has ensured the upliftment of youths’ wellbeing by ensuring they are elected and appointed into various positions of governance in the state.
“This has ensured that youths participate actively in the state’s governance and accounts for the massive transformation in the areas of infrastructure, health and education among others,” he said.
Akpuenika noted that the revitalisation of sports in the state had ensured that youths in particular, harnessed their talents to be self-sustaining and achieve their ambitions.
“The renovation of the Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium for instance, has provided sportsmen the opportunity of training adequately and harnessing their skills which ultimately, has afforded the state and country, equitable representation in various regional, national and continental sporting events.
“An Ebonyi youth won a bronze medal for the country in the recently concluded African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria, and we hope to sustain such feats.
“The sponsorship of various sporting competitions by the governor which were hitherto were in oblivion, has provided sportsmen the opportunity of showcasing their talents,” he said.
He noted that the enlightenment campaigns would continue after the deadline to ensure that those who registered for the exercise collected their PVC before the elections.