YOUTHS in Edo State have been told to resist being lured into thuggery and used to perpetuate election violence during the September governorship polls in the state.
The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) a non profit organisation, which assists in the electoral process in Nigeria and other African countries, made the call with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
At a town hall meeting on Saturday in Benin-City tagged, “Youths and Non-Violent Participation,” an electoral administration expert from ECES, Mr Isiaka Yahaya, harped on the need to sensitise the youths on the need to take part in the electoral process to guarantee their future.
He said: “We are saying that the youths of Edo should not allow themselves to be used as thugs by politicians for their personal political gains.
“They should not mortgage their future by allowing politicians to use them as agent for vote buying.
“If you take statistics of past election violence, you discover that the youths themselves are mostly the victims.”
Yahaya urged the youths to ensure that their opinion reflected in the leadership of the state through their votes on September 19.
According to him, ECES was committed to strengthening the democratic process in Nigeria through the implementation of the EU-SDGN programme.
INEC Representative at the event, Mr Sunny Ezumah, an Assistant Director, urged the youths to always put the interest of the state above the ambition of any politician.
He told them that, “it is time for the youths to say no to politicians who will want to lure them to violence during the election.”
Ezumah said the commission was committed to ensuring that youths were sensitised to be actively involved in the electoral process in the state.
The Programme Director of Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, called on the people of Edo to come out enmasse to vote, adding that election could only be rigged when there was voter apathy.
INEC Youth Ambassador (IYA), Mr Emmanuel Ikubese, called on the youths to take advantage of the election to elect the best candidate that would ensure their development in the state.