The Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Abdul Ganiyu Raji, has warned youths in the state against violence and vote buying during the forthcoming election.
Raji spoke on Tuesday at a Voter Education Retreat where music superstar, Innocent Idibia, a.k.a. 2Face was commissioned as Campaign Peace Ambassador.
The event was organised by Youngstars Development Initiative, 2Baba Foundation and New Generation for Girls and Women Development (NIGAWD) in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The parley tagged “Vote Not Fight: Election No Be War” was also supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom for International Development (UKAID) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The youth who were drawn from all the 16 local government areas promised to take the campaign to their localities to ensure a peaceful poll. Raji disclosed that between 60 and 70 percent of those involved in violence during elections are youths whom he said are induced with money by desperate politicians in a bid to win at all cost.
He said, “Ekiti is a volatile state, the news being heard outside is that you cannot enter Ekiti.
But the perception must change. “It has moved from rigging or snatching of electoral materials to vote buying and vote selling. Before, when an election is disrupted, it will be cancelled but that no longer obtains.
NIGAWD Executive Director, Abimbola Aladejare, disclosed that the Vote Not Fight campaign will take the message of peace to political actors, media organizations, transport workers, traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders.
Country Director of NDI, Aubrey Cutcheon, urged the youths to show readiness to take leadership roles and not allow themselves to be used as thugs. Others who addressed the youths at the forum included the state Commissioner of Police, Bello Ahmed represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ede Ayuba; the State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dayo Famosaya; Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) Chairman, Rotimi Ojomoyela.