Edo Civil Society Organisations, (EDOCSO), has cautioned the youth of Edo State to shun violence before, during and after the September 19 governorship election, saying they have no other state they could call their own if they set it ablaze by their own actions.
Coordinator-General of the group, Comrade Omobude Agho, represented by his deputy, Annie Iroro, gave the advice during a sensitisation rally in Benin.
Agho said they have been monitoring the various political campaigns and have observed that there have been reported cases of violence in some quarters and that it is important to drum the message of peace in the ears of the youth before the election day.
“It has been a culture for EDOCSO to always come out in every election to talk to the people about a violence free election and this is not different. I will not say it is because anything happening right now, but I will say yes, you know we have been following the politicking that has been going on for the past few months and we have seen and heard of violence in some of parts of Edo State and so, that is why we have come out again to do what we always do, talking to the people.
“We are also here to tell them that this election is not war. They should come out and vote. Edo is for all of us and not one political party. That is the essence of us coming out today to tell our people to come out and vote and those that are planning violence on that day should eschew violence”, he said.
On his part, Public Relations Officer of the group, Osazee Edigin, charged the citizens of the state not to be intimidated by the reported cases of violence that have characterized the political campaigns, urging them to come out en-masse to exercise their franchise, adding that their votes would be counted.
“We have taken time to observe the political tensions in Edo State, and I think that also informed the direction of this year’s sensitisation. We needed to let the populace understand that their votes count and that they should not be intimidated by the level of suspected violence that tends to erupt during this era of politics.
“We also want to let the people understand that their vote is their civic right which they must exercise because nobody takes that from them”, he said.
He further advised politicians to sell their manifestoes to the electorate and stop enticing them with money just as he also cautioned the youth not to mortgage their future and that of the state for their percuniary interest but to vote for the wellbeing and for the development of the state.