Music Artist, known as Mr Innocent Idibia and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have called on youths and politicians to shun violence before, during and after the general elections so that votes could count .
They made the call on Friday in Abuja when the music artist led a delegation of the 2Baba Foundation on a courtesy call to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
2Baba, who is also the President of 2Baba Foundation and Ambassador for the ‘Vote not Fight Campaign’ said that the movement was a voter education outreach with youths as the target.
According to him, the vote not fight project is a campaign designed to increase the participation of youths in Nigeria’s political and electoral processes.
This is being done by promoting peaceful and constructive youths engagement with political stakeholders, electoral umpire and security agencies .
2Baba said: “We focus on youths to spur them to engage in politics not just to be social media warriors without actually participating physically.
“The aim is to also campaign for peaceful elections before ,during and after as well as to also reach out to the political actors to ask their supporters not to engage in any form of violence.
“We are advising them to avoid hate speeches and not to incite violence but go out there to say what they have to offer and let the people choose.”
2Baba said the group had volunteers in the 36 states and it had reached out to over 62 million people through voter education, among others .
He said the basic message to Nigerians was “vote not fight, election no be war.”
2Baba said the group was seeking INEC’s collaboration to help in spreading the message further.
He commended the commission for the good work so far and encouraged the commission to remain resolute in working towards free ,fair and credible election in the interest of the democracy .
This, he said, was because the perception that elections would be rigged was a major trigger of electoral violence.
Speaking further, Mr Efe Omorogbe, Partner, 2Baba Foundation, said the vote not fight campaign wasa non-partisan and non-profit project working to shift the minds of youths often used by politicians to cause violence away from such acts.
Omorogbe said that the campaign would support INEC within its means to promote peace for the conduct of elections .
“We will be happy if the INEC Chairman can write a memo directing the Resident Electoral Commissioners to partner with us for voter education, among others ,”he said
Prof. Kunle Ajayi, National Commissioner, INEC, and Chair, Outreach and Partnership Committee, who spoke on behalf of the commission commended 2Baba for the initiative to engage youths positively .
According to Ajayi, the commission had vowed to Nigerians that it would conduct free,fair and credible elections, adding, ”they will be transparent, inclusive, and conclusive.
”INEC will remain neutral and non-partisan while the votes of Nigerians will count .
“Whoever emerges as the winner will be the people you actually vote for, nobody will rig for anybody, gone are those days in INEC.
“With the introduction of BVAS,our appeal to political parties is that they should go and work to gain voters .
“We assure you that votes wiilll count, we agree with you that when elections ate manipulated, it is a catalyst for violence, but we are assuring you that there will be nothing like rigging.
“However, we will continue to appeal to our youths not to surrender themselves to the politicians to be used as thugs because of peanuts.”
Ajayi urged 2Baba to continue to use his organisation and his music to encourage youths not to derail by being employed as thugs .
He also urged youths not to engage in vote buying because they would mortgage and sell their future .
Ajayi called on the youths to collect their permanent voters card so as to avoid rush hour collection and also urged them to vote on election day.
Ms Keller Jones, Senior Resident Director, National Democratic Institute (NDI),commended 2Baba and INEC for supporting youths engagement in politics.
Jones applauded 2Baba for influencing youths positively and giving them the opportunity to play roles in politics and encouraged him to do more for the sake of Nigeria’s democracy .
“For a lot of years, this gentleman here has dedicated his time and made sacrifices to ensure that the youths of Nigeria get the message.
” I know we talk a lot about the vote, not fight, but surrounding that message is also a lot of information, a lot of voter education.
”It involves messaging, a lot of civic education messaging, that is really critical to ensuring that youths feel excited about participating in their own democracy.
“So, I think having someone like to 2Baba tell them that means a whole lot more,”she said
The post Elections: Shun violence for votes to count, 2Baba, INEC tell Nigerians appeared first on Vanguard News.
Leave a Reply