The SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria in collaboration with European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria have called on youths to engage actively in the forthcoming general elections.
The call was made at the training for youths on peace building, mitigation, human rights, gender and participation using the street workshop multiplier methods on Thursday in Ibadan.
Mrs Rosemary Adeniyi, the Head, Voters Education and publicity Department, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Oyo state, assured youths that their votes would count due to the adoption of the modern technology in election process.
Adeniyi noted that the introduction of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) would be a game-changer in the electoral process.
She urged youths to take the advantage of the technology to reshape the future of Nigeria through active participation.
“Our youths should not only be awake on social media but physically on the election day.
“Youths shared largest percentage of the eligible voters, unfortunately, statistics from previous elections show that youths don’t usually take advantage of power of the large figure they have,” she said.
Also speaking, the Keynote Speaker, Mrs Timi Da-Costa, the Programme Director, Rays of Hope Community Foundation, Ibadan, enjoined youths not to let any political office seeker use religion, gender or ethnicity to derail their focus during the forthcoming elections.
According to her, religion has been a major tool deployed by some politicians to achieve violence during elections for their personal benefits.
Commenting, the Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Oyo State chapter, Comrade AbdulQuadry Abdulsalam, cautioned youths in the state to avoid being used by politicians for election violence.
Abdulsalam said that the NYCN launched the Youth Campaign Against Thuggery and Electoral Malpractices (Y-CATEM) project to curb youths involvement in electoral violence.
He said that the project Y-CATEM, was an initiative of the NYCN, Oyo state chapter, to sensitise youths on how political leaders take advantage of their vulnerability to achieve political ambitions through electoral violence.
Abdulsalam said the project would not limit its scope to youth sensitisation but also seeks to engage other major stakeholders such as political parties on the need for free, fair, inclusive and credible elections.