THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Edo, and the National Democratic Institute, NDI, a nongovernmental organization have advised youths in the state to shun thuggery and violence during September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state. Edo State Resident Electoral Commission, REC, Dr. Johnson Alalibo, while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting, yesterday, said INEC is ready to work with all stakeholders and added that the commission was committed to ensuring a free and fair election.
The event with the theme:” Securing the 2020 Governorship Election in Edo State: Role Of Stakeholders Consensus, Commitment and Collective Action”, was to sensitize Edo youth to avoid violence during elections in the state. Mr. Alalibo said INEC had written to all political parties on the type of language and words they should use during the campaigns and jingles in various media organizations.
He said: “ I want to thank the NGO for organizing this program at this time. My appeal is that the youths are the ones that are more vulnerable to electoral violence. We have to talk to them, that if we want to have free and fair elections, we have to shun violence.”
The representative of the Commissioner of Police, ACP Ayo Faniyan, assured the NGO that the police will partner with them and all stakeholders to ensure free, fair, and credible elections in Edo State. Mr. Faniyan said the Police was ready and committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure free election and thank the NDI for identifying the youth as a focal point in this election. He buttressed that as far as security is concerned, all hands must be on deck to conducting the free election in Edo State. The Executive Director of Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development Initiative, Israel Orekha, said youths have been at the center of election-related violence in Edo State and other parts of Nigeria since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999. He said the root causes of youth involvement in electoral violence include poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, underemployment, and drug abuse. Senior Programme Manager, NDI, Ben Aga, called on Edo youths to shun violence and embrace peace during the elections.