Youths in Ekiti state have been warned against engaging in all forms of violence that could create atmosphere of war, killing and wanton destruction of property before, during and after the July 14 governorship election.
A coalition of non-governmental organizations under the auspices of New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiatives(NIGAWD) and Youngsters Development Initiative gave the advice in Ido Ekiti, headquarters of Ido-Osi local government area of the state.
The group, which is in partnership Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies said it was out to educate and sensitize the youths in the state on the need to eschew violence in the poll.
It said the collaboration with the electoral body, law enforcement agents was to ensure that the election was devoid of crisis and also acceptable to the people of the state.
Speaking at the town hall meeting with the youths tagged: “Vote Not Fight”, the founder and Executive Director of NIGAWD, Mrs Abimbola Aladejare, said there was need to engage critical stakeholders on the need to eschew bloodshed during the election.
The candidates of Independent Democrat(ID), Mr Tosin Ajibare and that of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party(ANRP), Rev Tunde Afe, were present at the voter education programme.
Aladejare maintained that the programme was funded by National Democratic Institute(NDI), United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UK aid) and United State Agency for International Development (USAID).
“It is imperative to let our youths know that their statutory obligation on the day of election is to vote and stay back to protect their votes. No rigging, no ballot snatching or killing of people.
“When it comes to issue of violence and rigging, everybody is involved. I mean the youths, politicians, security agencies and INEC. That is why we are engaging them on the need to respect the sanctity of the ballot.
“We witnessed peaceful election in 2014 in Ekiti, but there was crisis leading to destruction of property and killing of people after the election. But this time, we want our people to be civil, because there is nothing to gain in violence”, she said.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Bello , who was represented by the Area Commander in charge of Ido/Osi, Ijero, Moba, Ilejemeje and Efon local governments, Mr Adegbepa Adetoye, assured the voters that the command was resolute to provide adequate security of lives and property.
He said, “On our side, we are going to be neutral . We are not going to take side and we will ensure that we monitor the election in the most professional way to enforce compliance to rules.
“Part of our duties is enforcement of law and order. We also owe it a duty to preserve the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act. We are assuring our people that we shall be civil and neutral in this election.’’
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