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In the run-up to elections, young people urged not to be swayed by unscrupulous politicians 

1 December 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes

As the Nigerian elections draw closer, youths are being urged to be more cautious about where they go, to avoid violence, and to promote peace – and to respect other people’s political views.

A gathering organised by the Dikwa Youth Development Association, security agencies, traditional rulers, youth groups, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam – an umbrella group for the Nigerian Muslim community – and locals was held on Sunday, November 27, to make young people more aware of the need for peaceful coexistence during the time leading up to the elections.

Abatcha Wakil, the chairman of the Dikwa Youth Association, told RNI reporter Rawa Dikwa that the meeting was held to make the community – particularly young people – more aware of the need to refrain from engaging in fights, avoiding politicians who might try to bribe them to get their vote and other “bad acts in the name of politics”.

“If young people are approached by politicians who want to bribe them, or if something out of the ordinary happens that does not appear to be right, people should report it to the police and take the right measures. We ask young people to be more patient and tolerant. They should not squabble about politics even if they don’t belong to the same party another person belongs to. All we want is unity among people because whenever politics arises, conflict occurs in communities because of political differences.

“Political aspirants should not cross the line in the process of campaigning using youths for bad intentions,” he said.

Security agencies had also warned young people to avoid political thuggery, saying every person who engaged in this would be punished.

Traditional ruler Wakil Abbas, the Ajiya of Dikwa, said: “We came here to make youths more aware of political thuggery and tell them not to steal ballot boxes during voting, and no violence against or swearing at political opponents – because all these can lead to fighting and cause problems.”

Yasin Ahmadu, secretary of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam organisation, said he was grateful to Allah and wanted to thank him for this gathering because it was the first one of its kind in the build-up to the elections.

“Many people have benefited from this meeting. It gave everyone the opportunity to gather on common ground to discuss issues that concern all of us and to find ways to avoid political fights.”

As political campaigning was heating up, RNI reporter Ummi Fatima Baba Kyari spoke to Shettima Ja’afar, the director-general of the National Orientation Agency in Maiduguri, who said politicians should be aware that they represented all of society not just some portions.

He said they should avoid hate speech or causing problems between people, especially young people who might be voting for the first time and this was their “initiation into politics”.

“Young people should understand that politics is opinion and everyone has the right to vote for the person he or she feels would be most likely to represent their needs in the best way.

“Youths should not use drugs, engage in fights or allow anyone to use their vote – and they should also understand that they are tomorrow’s leaders. They must not allow themselves to fall prey to politicians who just want to use them for their own benefit.”

RNI also visited Kushari community elders, who cautioned their young people to be more sensitive and self-disciplined.

Abbas Bukar said: “We always talk to our young people to urge them not to cause problems in the run-up to the elections and to emphasise the fact that everyone has the right to vote for whomever they liked and supported. We tell them not to use this against anyone and to refrain from fights over politics. We have seen this happen before and we do not want a recurrence.

“Young people should respect other people’s views even if they don’t agree with them. They should act cautiously and be disciplined because they are our leaders of tomorrow. They are our future.”


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Aisha Sd Jamal