by Suoyo Ekubo
A group, Fostering Achievement of Community Empowerment Initiative (FACE), has begun the “Vote Not Fight, Election No Be War” campaign in some areas said to be violence flashpoints in Bayelsa State.
Briefing newsmen on Tuesday, at the NUJ Press Centre in Yenagoa, the director of the group, Inatimi Peter Odio, said there was a need to address the issues of violent conflicts, hate speeches, vote buying, and other vices that have characterised the political and electoral processes in the country.
He said the campaign which involves sensitizing the electorates on the importance of peaceful electioneering will be taken to areas prone to electoral violence in the state such as Oporoma community headquarters of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Nembe LGA, Ekeremor LGA, and Brass LGA.
Odio said: “The citizens particularly youth and women need to be awake to their responsibility of nation-building through active participation in the electoral process.
“Citizens have remained at the fence for a long time because of voter apathy.
“All non-governmental organizations, community and faith-based organizations, traditional institutions, youths and women groups should deepen engagement with relevant government agencies in demanding professionalism in the conduct of elections and also intensify sensitization of their constituents on the need to embrace peaceful elections.”
Odio described the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the conduct of the 2023 general election as a “game changer” and urged “youths to go get their PVCs and go out en-masse to vote for the new Nigeria they desire.”
He also admonished Nigerian youths to avoid being used by politicians to perpetrate electoral violence.