From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and other stakeholders to ensure a violence free and credible conduct of the November 16 governorship election in Kogi state.
Mr Bem Aga, Senior Programmes Manager with NDI, made the call at the opening of a three-day Advocacy, Community and Voter Education training for ‘Vote Not Fight’ strategy committee members and LGA Coordinators on Tuesday in Lokoja.
Our Correspondent reports that the ‘Vote Not Fight’ campaign, supported by NDI, UKaid, USAID in partnership with the 2Baba Foundation and Youngsters, is being implemented in Kogi by Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).
Aga said that the training themed, “Securing the 2019 Governorship election in Kogi state: Role of stakeholder consensus, commitments and collective action was aimed at ensuring consensus in the interest of free, fair and credible election in the state.
According to him, there is need for consensus, commitment and collective actions among stakeholders such as INEC, security agencies, political actors, youths, traditional institutions and Faith Based Organisations to secure the desired peaceful election.
“The National Democratic Institute, “is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through
citizen participation, openness and accountability in government”, he said.
Aga said the NDI would support PIBCID with grants to ensure sustained advocacy and awareness campaign amongst youths and other stakeholders in Kogi on the need to eschew violence in the forthcoming election.
Mrs Gift Omoniwa, Executive Director of PIBCID, in her opening remarks, assured the coalition of NGOs of the readiness of her organisation to work towards attainment of a peaceful election through advocacy and awareness campaign.
Prof James Apam, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, who was represented by the commission’s Administrative Secretary, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar, promised unconditional support and provision of materials for the three-day training.
Apam also assured that INEC would jot be partisan or take sides in the forthcoming election adding that it would provide level playing ground and be transparent to make the election rancour free.
Mr Philip Ayodele, Commandant of the Nigeria security and civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), in Kogi, in his goodwill message urged youths to guard against being used to perpetrate violence saying, “Don’t sacrifice your lives for things that do not worth it.”