An election in progress in Nigeria
By Baba Shehu Oscu, Bauchi
The Forum of Executive Directors of Civil Society Organizations in Bauchi State has condemned the recruiting of youths by politicians to perpetrate violence at election.
It said youths are supposed to aid the electoral process.
In a press statement jointly signed by the chairman and the financial secretary of the forum, Sodangi Chindo and John Abu respectively, the forum noted that past elections in the North-East region have seen the use of youths for nefarious activities and political gains by politicians.
The statement said the forum noted with dismay how the increasing rate of poverty and shrinking economic state of the country have exposed many youths to the risk of being used as tools for violence in elections.
It said it is watching keenly to identify any group or politician engaged in such an act.
According to the statement, research has shown that women are the mostly affected by election violence and not only are they deprived of their right to exercise their franchise, but also target for violence and intimidation.
It condemned the act of violence and intimidation of women during and after election and called on security agencies and INEC to protect women and their votes.
According to the statement, the forum commended the assent to the disability bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, pointing out that the disability act outlined the protection enjoyed by disable persons and criminalizes any form of discrimination towards them, including participation in elections.
The forum then called on political candidates to have an inclusive manifesto, saying that civil society organizations have been agitating for political aspirants to sign and commit themselves to issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH), education and good governance.
They called on Nigerians to exercise their franchise in an orderly manner, free from rancor, adding that Nigerians must ensure that they guard their votes and not succumb to the temptation of selling their votes.