The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajamiabila, on Wednesday, urged the major actors in the Bayelsa and Kogi states’ governorship elections, as well as the candidates in the Kogi West Senatorial election to shun violence before, during and after the elections.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Vice-Chairman of the Young Parliamentarians Forum of the National Assembly, Mr Ibrahim Obanikoro, spoke with The PUNCH in Abuja on the sidelines of a workshop on leadership development and inclusion of underrepresented groups in politics.
The event was organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in partnership with a Network of Young Nigerians in Politics with Values.
He said, “The political gladiators must ensure that there is no violence. The people that perpetuate violence are youths. If the youths know that it is their future we are talking about, they should stay away from violence and from any leader that may use them to instigate violence.”
The Country Representative, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, urged the candidates, their parties and supporters to avoid violence.
He admonished participants at the workshop to change the narrative of how politics should be played in Nigeria.
Olorunmola said, “We are joining our voice with networks of young persons with values to let the political actors know that politics should be about service and that the votes of the people should count and not the ones that have the highest means of violence taking the lead but the people should determine who leads them.
“We are totally against the politics of violence. It hinders citizens’ participation, quality youth participation, quality women participation and quality citizens’ participation.”
The President, Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, Chief Peter Ameh, said violence was inimical to the growth of democracy.