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By Emeka Nwokocha

The Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Delta State Chapter, Chief (Comr.) Francis Arhiyor, JP has pledged support for “Vote Not Fight” Campaign in Delta State, saying that the initiative aligns with the vision of the union aimed at promoting free and fair elections in 2023.
Chief Arhiyor made this known on Tuesday 8 November, 2022, when Vote Not Fight Campaign team paid an advocacy visit to him, as part of the groups’ activities to build collaboration in ensuring the circle of violence is broken in Delta state and Nigeria during the 2023 elections.

While pledging his support for the ‘Vote Not Fight’ Campaign, Chief Arhiyor acknowledged importance of a free and fair election in deepening democratic values in Nigeria, saying, “We all are part of this progressive initiative aimed at eradicating violence in elections in Nigeria.”

Mr. Ehimigbai Mustapha (left), assisted by Mr. Cosmax Uwadiale (right), presenting a Souvenir to Chief Francis Arhiyor

He continued, “During election periods, we, leaders of the National Union of Road Transport Workers make good efforts to enlighten our members on the need for hitch free elections. We make them understand that ‘you don’t fight during elections.’ When you go to the polling booth, you quietly cast your vote and nothing more. If you fight, your vote will not count, then why would you fight?”
While commending the ‘Vote Not Fight’ Campaign Team, Chief Arhiyor said, “We, members of NURTW are part of this campaign and we’ll continue to preach the message to the grassroots.”

He stated that the deployment of new technologies by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC is phasing out violence in elections at a fast speed. He said, “You’ll agree with me that what we experienced in 1999 election cannot be replicated now as INEC is putting new technology in place to eradicate violence in elections. In the past, one could invade the polling place and snatch ballot boxes and run away. But today, that trend has changed. If you perpetrate that act today, the votes in those polling booths will be cancelled. So the ‘Vote Not Fight’ is an initiative and a campaign we all must support, so that our people will be aware of the importance of voting without fighting.”

Chief Francis Arhiyor (left), and Comrade Emeka Nwokocha, an advocate of Vote Not Fight

Chief Arhiyor added, “When you vote, and don’t fight, your vote ‘counts.’ Therefore, fighting should not be associated with voting during elections. We’ll join hands to promote a culture that supports rancour free elections.”

He further stated, “Gone are the days people go to polling booths and start fighting! We look forward to seeing this campaign upscale the awareness from time to time so that in no distant time it will cascade to the grassroots and we’ll graduate to a stage we can cast our votes in the comfort of our homes as it is in the developed countries.

“We pray to God that with this ongoing campaign, our youths will key to it and ensure that there will be violence free election in 2023.”

Speaking earlier, Mr. Ehimigbai Mustapha, who led the Vote Not Fight team on the campaign, spoke eloquently on the need to promote violence free election in Delta State, stating that Vote Not Fight campaign is a brainchild of a nongovernmental organisation, Fostering Achievements of Community Empowerment (FACE) Initiative, in coalition with Community Empowerment and Development Initiative (CEDI), and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), aimed at eradicating violence in the 2023 elections in Nigeria. Continuing, he noted that Delta state had been rated as one of the most volatile states during elections, stressing the need to break the circle of electoral violence in Delta state and Nigeria at large. He called on all relevant authorities including individuals to support the ‘Vote Not Fight’ campaign.

Cross Section of members of NURTW

Mustapha, commended Chief Francis Arhiyor for the warm reception he accorded the ‘Vote Not Fight’ team, expressing delight at the NURTW boss’ show of commitment to support the ‘Vote Not Fight’ campaign.

Also speaking, Mr. Cosmax Uwadiale, a leading campaigner of ‘Vote Not Fight’, thanked Chief Arhiyor for endorsing the ‘Vote Not Fight’ Campaign and assuring he would take the campaign to the youths at the grassroots.

 

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