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Catch Them Young Community Initiative

AWKA/Nigeria: A youth group, Catch Them Young Community Initiative (CATYCOI), on Tuesday kicked off the “Vote Not Fight” Campaign in Awka toward ensuring a violence-free governorship election in Anambra.

The campaign is in collaboration with the 2Face Idibia Foundation with support from National Democratic Institute and the United States Agency for International Development.

The “Vote Not Fight: Election No Be War” campaign was launched in 2014 to raise awareness around the dangers of election violence.

The campaign kicked off with a Town Hall meeting of youth stakeholders in Anambra Central Senatorial District, in Awka

Mr Nonso Orakwe, the Executive Director, CATYCOI, said that the campaign was to pass message to youths, politicians and other stakeholders that the Nov. 6 elections should not be a do-or-die affairs.

Orakwe said: “The process of electing leaders in Nigeria has been plagued by a myriad of problems, ranging from voter intimidation and suppression, to harassment and outright violence.

“This campaign is to change the ugly trend, especially as Anambra prepares for the governorship election and bring a lasting peace in our political space.

“We urge our youths to prevent electoral violence by upholding democratic principles before, during and after elections, because there is a connection between violence-free election, peace and development.

In her presentations, Ms Tracy Keshi, the Programme Officer, NDI, said youth’s engagement was critical to ensuring a violence-free election.

Keshi said: “Peaceful and credible elections are essential for democracy to thrive.

“When elections are peaceful, free and fair, it can help facilitate a smooth transfer of power from one administration to another.

“The campaign will help youths to shun violence, speak against the menace in elections and participate in the election.”

Also, the Commissioner of Police in Anambra, Eworo Echeng, said that the anti-riot policemen deployed to secure the state during the election had started arriving.

Echeng, represented by CSP. Isah Kolo, said that policemen would be deployed to the nooks and crannies of the state to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the election.

He also said that police would hold a peace meeting with all the political candidates where they would sign a peace pact to ensure that they conduct themselves peacefully during the election.

“We urge the public to give useful security information to the police to help prevent electoral violence in the state,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr Charles Nwoji, the State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), said the agency had been involved in sensitisation programmes and voter education in the communities.

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