13th December, 2010
Ahead of next yearâ€™s elections, the Lagos State Government has charged youths in theÂ state to shun all forms of violence, thuggery and social vices that may mar theÂ success of the forthcoming polls.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo BadruÂ gave this advise at the weekend during the 21010 Youth and Governance Seminar withÂ the theme: Nigerian Democracy and Good Governance: The Youth as Tool of Change heldÂ at the State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
According to him, youths should rather imbibe the spirit of adventure, patriotismÂ and resourcefulness in order to be the vanguard of societal development, credibleÂ elections and campaign for one man, one vote.
The special adviser said the seminar was apt, as the 2011 elections draw nearer,Â stressing that past elections were characterized by one problem or the other asÂ youths were often used to perpetrate electoral malpractices and political violence.
â€œThis is because the youths are not aware of the fact that they have positive rolesÂ to play; they do not perceive themselves as agents of change, neither do theyÂ understand the effect of electoral fraud on their future nor do they know thatÂ voting during the election is their civic responsibility to pick a candidate whoÂ would represent them and agitate for their collective interest as well as theÂ development of their community.
â€œIf youths are to be seen as a tool for positive change in terms of democracy andÂ good governance, the youth must actively participate and be involved in politicsÂ locally and nationally,â€ he said.
â€œTheir involvement and participation should start at the point of mobilizingÂ themselves for the registration exercise, ensuring that they vote to chooseÂ candidates of their choice; a candidate that will be able to articulate their courseÂ and initiate developmental projects that can raise the standard of living of theÂ citizens,â€ he added.
Badru urged the youths to project themselves as agent of change, saying that sinceÂ they constituted the larger part of the population, they have what it takes toÂ determine who would govern them.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. KamolÂ Junaid stated that the future of the nation is in the youths and they should be madeÂ to play positive roles in ensuring that electioneering campaigns were crisis andÂ violence free, issue based and youth informed.
â€œIn spite of the fact that past elections in this country had always beenÂ characterized by violence and various forms of electoral malpractices, the youthsÂ should not lose focus, but reject in totality any attempt to be used by unscrupulousÂ vote speculators to perpetrate electoral malpractices and violence of any kind.