A campaign is ongoing in Kaduna state to wean the population, the youth especially, away from violence, ahead of next year’s national elections. Codenamed “Vote Not Fight Campaign”, it is the brainwork of One Project Africa, 2Baba Foundation, National Democratic Initiative (NDI), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Aid (UKAID).The campaign was launched formally Monday, Nov. 22, in Kaduna, the state capital, after a successful training for coordinators of the campaign in the state’s 23 local government areas.
The core objective of the campaign, according to the organisers, is to change the narrative of violence in the state. “The Vote Not Fight Campaign is to educate the electorate on why they should exercise their civic rights without engaging in any form of violence or allowing themselves to be pushed into violence”. The campaigners believe that the youth and politicians, in particular, must avoid hate speech that can heat up the polity.
Independent National Electoral Commission’s administrative secretary in the state, Alhaji Mohammed Mashi, asked the youth not to be sentimental when it comes to “tribe, religion, party or ethnicity”. For his part, the representative of the police, Superintendent Abdulazeez Isa, said the youth are the people to watch “before, during and after elections” because they are excitable and can be essily manipulated.
We, at People’s Daily, welcome this peace initiative, coming as it is in the build-up to the 2019 elections. We also endorse the targeting of the youth, because they are the target of politicians who induce them with money to stoke violence, maim and disrupt elections, especially whenever the politicians perceive they are losing the contest. If the youth can refuse to be used as tools by politicians, the frequency of violence that characterized our electoral process in the past will reduce exponentially.