NGO seeks violence-free Anambra guber poll
Ahead of the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the United for Zero Violence (UZV) has partnered with the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agents (NDLEA) to launch a massive campaign against election violence.
The aim of the partnership was to ensure massive education and enlightenment of the electorate across the state to shun any act or political inducement from politicians and or political parties that is inimical to the peaceful conduct of the governorship election.
Speaking on the development, the grand patron of the organization, Chief Emeka Ken Nwabueze, said the presence of heads of the law enforcement agencies at the launching of the partnership suggested that UZV’s decision was a step in the right direction.
He disclosed that UZV would host several town hall meetings across the three senatorial zones in the state in collaboration with all the security agents.
The former Special Adviser on Science and Technology to erstwhile President George W. Bush of the United States added that key agenda of UZV is to educate the voter, which he described as the most important obligation every citizen of Anambra must ensure to enable the state remain democratic and to achieve a peaceful election.
He said, “The strength of American democracy lies in the fact that its people are well educated about the electoral processes. Our emphasis on voter education stems from the conviction that once the electorate are sufficiently educated about the electoral processes, vices such as thuggery, rigging, ballot box stuffing and other related electoral malpractices would reduce drastically if not totally eliminated.
“Election violence in any form, be it arson, assassination, thuggery or stuffing of ballot box not only creates an environment of distrust between the winner and the winning political party by those who felt their mandate was snatched from them but it also destroys the fabrics of our communities and deters the progress of our society.”
To stem it, Nwabueze said the only antidote is to educate the people adding, “voters education remains the most effective tool for eradicating the ills in any society, it should be the agenda of the UZV and the duty of every person in Anambra to use every organised group either town union, schools, religious institutions, civil societies and others to educate our people, especially the youths. It must be used to discourage them form engaging in any form of electoral violence.”
To get these aims achieved, he said, “UZV would empower its electoral educators with materials to enable them reach the grassroots and educate voters. Our target base is the youth. We want to teach them the need to shun violence and be exposed to intrigues politicians use in getting people incited to engage in nefarious activities that may hinder the progress of an election.”
In a similar vein, the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Buba Umar, commended the initiative as wonderful and timely considering the fact that the state is on the threshold of a gubernatorial election.
He thanked Nwabueze for the initiative, saying, “This is an opportunity for the youths to make a more meaningful impact on the progress of their state by shunning violent acts during the coming election.
“The youths as leaders of tomorrow are the catalysts to move a nation forward or draw a nation backward. This kind of platform offered by UZV is all the youths need to stay on the right track and use their energy to move their nation forward.”
He told the youths that Anambra needs their energy to move forward and that they have to do everything possible to make sure that their energy is well utilised to assist the state in developing.
Similarly, the State Commander of NDLEA, Mr. Momodu cautioned the youths against accepting the offer from politicians to take drugs.
He said, “Don’t accept offer from politicians to do dirty jobs during the coming election. They may camp you in hotel, give you money and also give you drugs to induce your brain negatively, the onus is on you to reject because that’s one of the easiest way to destruction. Drug intake has no value to add to any life.”
The State DSS boss, Yusuf Isiaku in his comment advised the youth against being used for violent activities.
According to him, “Anambra is not a banana state. In terms of business and education, it ranks tall in the country and the youths should endeavour to drive it in the positive direction and avoid dragging it to the mud by making themselves subject of violence.”
A female labour leader, Madam Monica Okoro said violence always meets ugly end with the youth at the receiving end.
Responding to the speeches, the National Program Director of the NGO, Udoji Amedu commended the speakers for identifying with UZV. He assured them that the zero violence body would collaborate with all the security agencies and take the message of zero violence to all nooks and crannies of the society for the needed results ahead of the election.
The Aku Chukwu Ogidi, Chief Chima Onwuzulike expressed the readiness of the group to wage effective anti-violence crusade in Anambra and beyond, assuring that UZV would spread its tentacles on zero violence to family units and communities and, over time, other parts of Nigeria.
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