2023: Group Cautions Youths Against Violence, Ethnic, Religious Bigotry
A political pressure group, Building Blocks for Peace Foundation (BBFORPEAC), has cautioned Nigerian youths against violence, and ethnic and religious bigotry, ahead of the 2023 general election.
Mr Rafui Lawal, the Executive Director, BBFORPEACE Foundation said this at a news conference with the theme `Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Enhancing Youth Political Participation for a Peaceful and Inclusive Society” in Abuja on Thursday.
Lawal said that Nigerian election was usually marred with violence due to the win-at-all-cost syndrome.
“At the centre of these violent conflicts are young men and women who make up about 60 per cent of all the eligible voters and the total country’s population.
“More so, young people’s exclusion from decision-making and peace processes, and the lack of adequate conflict management and mediation skills especially among youth contributions to violence.
“The meaningful participation of young people in all cycles of the electoral process is crucial for any democratic development.
“As the 2023 elections draw close, we will like to remind young people that their active and non-violent participation is critical for Nigeria’s socio-economic and political reconfiguration and development,” he said.
Lawal added:“Young people are central to peace and security in Nigeria.
“We must convert our demographic dividends into peace dividends.’’
He called on Nigerian youth to shun hate speech and sharing of unverified information.
Lawal advised youths to ensure that they verify all information and messages through simple Google search and fact-checking tools online before sharing.
He said that data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has shown that youths aged between 18 and 34 years constitute 78.7 per cent of 12.2 million new registrants.
He said that this clearly indicated that youths would have a potential impact on the 2023 elections, so it was time to use that strength to present a formidable youth agenda to the political gladiators.
He said that young people should peacefully mobilise their peers across the country to vote for the candidates of their choice across all levels.
“As youths, we have the biggest advantage by far to effectively use technology to promote a peaceful election.
“We are exposed to many social media platforms that we can use to advocate for peace and social cohesion before, during and after elections.
“We must say no to hate speech and divisive content online and offline,” he said.
Lawal said that the unnecessary and unhealthy enmity among political parties, party gladiators and supporters has huge implications for the 2023 election and beyond.
Nigeria’s Presidential Election Marred With Irregularities – U.S. Reps Member
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, says she is “deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election”.
In a statement released by Rep Ilhan, she demanded “swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.”
The statement read: “I am deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election.
“I urge full transparency and swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.
“Democracy rests on free, fair, and transparent elections. When elections are not fair, open, and transparent, it’s disenfranchising and shatters faith in government. Nigeria’s low turnout already suggests a lack of faith in the country’s democratic institutions. It is critical that the process plays out correctly.
“Allowing electoral challenges to go through the system is a key part of a functioning democratic process. It is also a way to help build confidence and avoid protracted conflict.
“The international community should support an independent and transparent process and wait until these challenges are resolved before prematurely pronouncing a winner.”
INEC announced Bola Tinubu winner of the presidential election amidst calls for the cancellation of the poll by the PDP and Labour Party.
Election Must Hold As Planned, ‘No To Interim National Govt’ – Gen Olanrewaju
Former Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Third Armoured Division Nigerian Army, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (Rtd), has declared his support for the February 25, 2023 general elections as already planned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a statement sent to IfakoIjaiyeNews, he said in spite of whatever effort by anti-democratic forces within or without, the elections must hold as scheduled.
According to him, “Postponing the February election will lead to a low turnout of voters, and genuine winners will not emerge. Surely, the enthusiasm to come out to vote will drop.”
On insinuation of Interim National Government, General Olanrewaju posited that there must be no room for it, adding that his experience, in the consolidation of Interim National Government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993, puts him in better stead to speak against it at this time.
The former Corps Commander Artillery Nigerian Army, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a successful transition of power as scheduled to kick off in three weeks time, said the best legacy the Daura-born President will be remembered for leaving behind for coming generation of Nigerian leadership is actualised civillian-to-civillian transition of power, democratically.
The prominent Lagos State-born General reviewed the situation of impunity in public and private places, which has resulted in the agonising new Naira notes and fuel scarcity across the country, and assured Nigerians that those challenges are not enough excuses to disrupt the transition election process embarked upon by government.
He, therefore, threw his weight behind President Buhari on doing whatever reasonably possible to clear the problems, adding that any banker or petroleum marker, who has respectively hoarded cash or products to sabotage the process and thereby igniting public unrest should be appropriately handled because nobody is more powerful than state.
“Mr. President has the capacity to handle the situation and he has my support for doing exactly that because, nobody stands in the way government has taken for the good of the people, except that such person is incurring the wrath of the law requiring that government takes action against him and the nation moves on,” the General said.
“…in another climes, these bankers who inflict pains on citizens would have been in the gulag. They are simply wicked. Yes, the new notes are limited in supply to the public but can be shared pro rata on the counters by the banks for the low income customers to meet minimum demands.
“This is a good monetary policy, but ‘shylockly’ handled for personal gains along the distribution chain to the consumers. Nigerians like inflicting pains and injuries on fellow citizens. This is not a matter of leadership at the top, but it cuts across down to the grassroots.
“We (Nigerian citizens) need to assist the government in succeeding at this time. If you don’t have fuel and low value currency, it’s the poor people who will suffer in the supply and demand chain,” Retired Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju said.
He added that, “Banks are sufficiently stocked with enough new notes that there’s no reason for Nigerians to be going through the current suffering. This is just terrible. This is not a matter of leadership at the top,” he said.
Speaking on the governorship election of Lagos State, General Olanrewaju said, “Lagosians must shine their eyes this time around. The 2023 elections will determine our identity, rights, and future. Every genuine IBILE (IBILE (Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, LAGOS and Epe) citizen must be ready to challenge the present status-quo and liberate themselves from one man dictatorship.
“The Lagos State revenues have to be redefined. The upland communities have suffered from development as our collective heritage and resources have been sold out for the benefit of a few powerful elements in the state. As ÌBILE citizens, let’s vote wisely for the benefit of all of us. IBILE had never been so downgraded the way it is today,” General Olanrewaju, who is also Trustee of Omo Eko Pataki, said.
In the meantime, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju has called for immediate removal of the INEC representative in Lagos over his alleged statement that he has no option than to engage the Lagos State Park Management Committee headed by Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya a.k.a. MC Olu-Omo, a Lagos State APC chieftain, to distribute election materials in an exercise being contested by many political parties.
Government Orders Universities To Shut Down For 2023 Elections
The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), has directed all Universities and Inter-University Centres to shut down and academic activities suspended from February 22 to March 14.
The directive was contained in a circular dated February 3, 2023 and addressed to all Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities and Directors/Chief Executives of Inter-University Centres.
In the circular seen by IfakoIjaiyeNews, NUC said Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22 February 2023 to Tuesday 14 March 2023.”
The circular reads in parts: “As Vice-Chancellors of all Universities and Directors Chief Executives of Inter University Centres are quite aware, the 2023 General Elections have been scheduled to hold on Saturday 25 February 2023, for the Presidential and National Assembly, and Saturday 11 March 2023 for Gubernatorial and State Assembly, respectively.
“In view of the foregoing and concerns expressed on the security of staff, students and properties of the our respective institutions, the Honourable Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu has following extensive consultations with the relevant security agencies, directed that all Universities and Inter University Centres be shut down and academic activities be suspended between 22 February and 14th March, 2023.
“Consequently, Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22 February 2023 to Tuesday 14 March 2023.”
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