By Emeka Nwokocha
Against the backdrop of the volatile nature of past elections in Delta State, and Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Fostering Achievement of Community Empowerment (FACE) Initiative, in partnership with National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Delta CSO Community Empowerment and Development Initiative, has begun aggressive sensitization of the electorates on the compelling need to jettison electoral crimes in order to pave way for credible, free and fair elections in 2023 both in Delta state and across Nigeria.
This was practically demonstrated recently with the inauguration of ‘Vote, not fight’ campaign network in Warri, headquarters of Warri South local government area of Delta State.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Bogofanyo Inengibo of FACE Initiative said: “The aim of this program is primarily to educate the youths and the general public on the need to promote free and fair election in Delta State, and across Nigeria in 2023.”
She added: “The ‘Vote, not Fight’ Campaign has been on course in other states and making commendable impacts in promoting credible elections and effecting positive change in Nigeria while reaching out to those at the grass root level. Therefore, flagging off the campaign in Delta State is an added milestone as it will sensitize the public and inspire them to desist from triggering conflicts during elections.”
She continued: “To deepen the campaign and make greater impact, the Delta chapter shall be organizing discussion sessions in communities to identify the risks posed by violence activities during election periods. Also, there will be Workshops to reorient young people and discourage them from causing political violence. In addition, there will be sustained advocacy visits to political actors, community militias and security officials on the need for a peaceful election.”
Inengibo further stated that awareness creating mechanisms would be up-scaled to take the campaign to the nook and cranny of the communities in Delta State, saying that streets processions, social media hubs, call-in radio programmes on roles of youths in promoting peaceful elections would be exhaustively utilized to drive the goal of the campaign.
She added: “There is need for our youth to start showing commitment to peace; young people need to challenge society’s negative stereotyping of them as being perpetrators of violence, and lay foundations for greater trust and understanding between them, their communities and the larger society.”
Continuing, Inengibo charged politicians to jettison politics of bitterness, divisiveness and religious bigotry while campaigning and canvassing for votes, stressing that the theme of the campaign, ‘Vote, not fight’ would reorient the mindset of youths and make them imbibe the culture of smooth and peaceful election, so that at end of the election, the concept, ‘Vote, Not Fight’ would be a household name in Delta State.