By Deji Abdulwahab
A University Don, Dr Davidson Aminu, has advised Nigerian youths to take advantage of their numerical strength to elect quality and best candidate that would promote youths development and empowerment.
Aminu, a Senior lecturer at the Philomath University, Abuja, gave the advice on Wednesday at a Multi-Stakeholders Dialogue in Abuja.
The dialogue, which has its theme: “Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Fostering Youth Action for Peace and Stability’’ was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in collaboration with Building Blocks for Peace Foundation.
The senior lecturer urged youths to use their votes wisely to foster a generational change devoid of violence and acrimony.
According to him, youths must embrace peace for the country to achieve successful conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
“In order to ensure a violent-free 2023 elections, youths need adequate sensitisation and awareness creation on the implications of electoral violence.
“To achieve this objective, government and critical stakeholders should continue to engage youths on the need for peaceful conduct before, during and after the elections,’’ Aminu said.
According to him, the ongoing campaign against drug addiction by NOA and the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency must be intensified.
“This is important as there is a strong relationship between drug addiction and electoral violence.
“Majority of youths, who indulged in electoral violence and other organised crimes, are victims of drug abuse and addiction.
“Achieving peaceful 2023 general elections is a collective responsibility of stakeholders to include the media, security agencies, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), civil society, religious organisations, traditional institutions and other relevant organisations,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Mr Rafiu Lawal, the Executive Director, Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, urged Nigerian youths to work toward ensuring that 2023 elections are peaceful as young people remain central to peace and security.
Lawal recalled that elections in Nigeria since 1999 had been plagued with violence and mistrust, especially among the contesting parties, religious, ethnic and tribal regions.
According to him, in all of these, young people are seen as perpetrators and victims.
He said that purpose of the dialogue was to create a safe environment for young people’s participation in democratic processes, conflict resolution and peace building in the country.
“It will also foster an atmosphere in which young people are recognised and they are seen as important actors of peace.
“This project aims to support the operationalisation of Nigeria’s National Action Plan (NAP) on youths, peace and security, which are adopted by the Federal Government in November 2021,’’ Lawal said.
Also, the Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said that the dialogue was aimed at educating Nigerian youths to take action against hate speech and fake news in order to have peaceful and violence free elections.
Abari urged youths to shun drug addiction and other vices capable of truncating democratic process, especially when the 2023 general elections remains few days. (NAN)