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  • on 30.03.2011
  • at 12:47 PM
  • by Staff

Nigeria: Youths should not be used by selfish politicians 1

Edinyanga Okoi a student in the department of engineering at Maritime Academy of Nigerian has advised young people to be wary of politicians who would use them to perpetuate violence acts for personal gain. Okoi says this ahead of his country’s tripartite elections scheduled  between 2nd and  19th April this year.

The polls had originally been planned for January, but were postponed after parliament approved constitutional changes.

Previous elections have been characterised by violence and alleged rigging. The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won all of Nigeria’s presidential elections since military rule ended in 1999.

However its presidential candidate  President Goodluck Jonathan who is also the incumbent faces competition from other 15 candidates who includes  Ebiti Onoyom Ndok of the United National Party for Development (UNPD) as the sole female candidate.

Okoi  says that youth should be keen in the promotion of conflict prevention and stay away from self centred leaders.

“Youth should not be used by politicians who just try to seek personal gain. Politicians will try to use us as youths to gain power. We are going to fight each other on the expense of them enjoying themselves,”

“As students  we have an  important role to play in Nigeria. Our judgement should be based on integrity and not on what selfish politicians tell us. Young people should strive to uphold human rights and peaceful ways of life by not resorting to violence behaviours.” explains Okoi.

He also claims that the Nigerian youths are ready for elections and looking forward to see that who ever is elected works on the problems which the young people are facing. Okoi also associates poverty as one of the main cause of conflicts in Africa.

“Africa has a lot of conflicts because of high poverty levels. This makes politicians to take advantage of problems like unemployment and  hunger in many African countries. They take advantage so much that they pay people so that they resort to violence,” he laments.

In a related development, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre(CISLAC) through its  Executive Director, Auwal Musa has challenge Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) to  remain relentless as not to be controlled by politicians as this may compromise their work. He says that CSOs as advocates of democracy should not indulge in partisan politics.

“CSOs should not allow politician to influence their work especially during elections as their work  plays a vital part in advocating for peaceful, free and fair elections.” He says

“They(politicians) will use and do everything possible to win including rigging elections,” warns Musa.

“CSOs should continual to campaign for  Constitutional Reforms, gender main-streaming, anti-corruption crusade and civil education which are very useful for the electorates” he adds.

Musa also points out that despite having more than ten Presidential Candidates, Nigerians will cope  with this and use their wisdom in making their choice.

“Nigerian voters are very wise. They know what they want and they know which candidate they are voting for,” he says.

‘And especially this year Nigerians are very ready to go and exercise  there right to vote. It is the first time I have see people eager and looking forward to cast their vote,” he add.

Meanwhile, Kunle Amuwo who is International Crisis Group(ICG) Senior Analyst for Nigeria and Senegal has said that it was possible to have free and fair elections in Africa including Nigeria. He underlined that if politician adhered to the wishes of the people, conflicts were going to be avoided.

“The problem is that a number of politician  want to cling or get to power even if people reject them during elections. Consequentially  this results to violence which in turn leads to loss of lives,” he explains.

He says that his organisation as a think tank specialised in crisis prevention is working around the clock in order to give updates before, during and after the polls.

By Joe M.L. Kaluba – Afronline

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  1. Steven Chongo says:

    It is very common for African leaders to use the youth for their selfish political gains.In Zambia right now politicians are using the young people.They are bought beers and once they are drunk they fight with the youth from the opposite camp.The youth from the ruling party has even taken over the running of bust stations which are normally run by the local councils.They have even banned anyone to put on other party regalia.

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