Popular artiste, Innocent Idibia also known as “2Face’ has called on youths in Anambra state to reject all forms of gratification from political actors before and during the November 6 governorship election in the state.
He also urged them to resist the temptation of being used as tools for electoral violence.
Idibia made the appeal in Awka, Anambra state during a town hall meeting organised by Catch Them Young Community Initiative (CATYCOI) and the 2Face Idibia Foundation with support from the National Democratic Institute and the United States Agency for International Development.
He also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Police and other security agencies to carry out their roles with every sense of responsibility and civility, just as he called for cooperation on the part of the electorate.
He said, “Without peace, there’s no meaningful development. We need peaceful election more than before. Electoral violence is never the solution, it destroys lives and property.
“Unfortunately, those that suffer the consequences of violence, most times, are the innocent. Let’s ensure nobody deceives us or gratifies us to become instruments of violence.
“Gone are the days people are deceived, today’s generation are more knowledgeable now. Let them carry out the violence themselves.
“Let’s respect everyone choices as we go out to vote on election day. Vote wisely for the candidate of your choice and understand the reason for the choice. You can’t be sure, you lone vote can change Anambra state.
“If you decide not to vote, some other persons will definitely vote for those who are contesting and wrong persons will be imposed on you. Let’s do the right thing.
“I call on INEC, Police and other security agencies to play their roles, including being civil during the exercise. I also call for cooperation on the part of the electorate.
“If we behave ourselves, their work will be much easier. Be fair to all parties so the election will be peaceful, free, fair and credible. Vote not fight, election no be war.”
Earlier, Executive Director, CATYCOI, Mr Nonso Orakwe, expressed optimism that ideas generated from the meeting would improve security and ensure electorates exercised their franchise in a peaceful environment.
He said, “The role of Nigeria’s youth in election-related violence has been particularly dynamic, in that they have been perpetrators and victims at the same time. Due to eroding societal values and poverty, they are easy recruits for attacks on political opponents.
“We therefore, urge you to prevent electoral violence by upholding democratic principles before, during and after election because there is a direct connection between violent-free elections, peace and development.
“You can make a meaningful contribution towards the developmental goals of the state by ensuring that the November 6 Governorship elections is free, fair, and credible and devoid of all forms of electoral violence.”
On his part, National Democratic Institute, Bem Aga described youths as both assets and future of the society, urging them to take the message from the event to their contemporaries at the grassroots.
“Young people are assets and future of any society. They are widely changing from championing violence to campaigning peaceful election. Thanks to Catch Them Young Community Initiative (CATYCOI),” he said.