The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has called on youths to shun violence and avoid being used as political thugs as the 2015 general elections draw near.
Tambuwal made the call in Abuja on Wednesday at a public lecture, organised by the National Association of Political Science Students, University of Abuja Chapter.
The theme of the lecture was “Conducting Free, Fair and Credible Election in 2015: the Roles of Political Party”.
Tambuwal, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Legal Matters, Mr Chille Igbawua, also called on the youth not to be among those promoting irregularities in elections.
“I believe that many of the youth will be involved in 2015 general elections as ad hoc officials; it is a time to sensitise them about the process of elections.
“Part of the problems of elections in this our country is violence and we know that those who engineer violence are not youths but those who perpetrate it are youths.
“Those engineering the violence often stay at the background and push the youth forward to go out and carry out violence.
“However, when you and I begin to sensitise the youth about the processes of the forthcoming elections, then, they will realise that violence has no place in this country,” he said.
The speaker called on eligible voters to eschew apathy and perform their civic responsibilities to ensure the success of next year’s general elections.
Also, Dr Jubril Ibrahim, Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Governance, urged stakeholders to vote for the candidate of their choice to enhance democracy.
He called on INEC to do all within its powers to organise credible, fair and transparent elections, next year, in conformity with the expectation of Nigerians.
Ibrahim advised political parties to move away from the politics of personalities, religion and ethnicity and address issues.
“We, as electorate, need to make sure we choose political parties that have the best ideas for the movement forward for Nigeria rather than using identity issues,” he said.
The President of NAPSS, Mr Kelinde Popoola, said the lecture was organised to educate and enlighten the youth on the electioneering process.
He added that it was to inform the youth to guard against election manipulation, distortion and post-election violence.
Popoola said the topic of the lecture was significant due to the apprehension about and agitation for peaceful 2015 general elections.
“It is imperative to note that free, fair and credible election is the cornerstone and foundation pillar of democracy,” he said.
He called on political actors, INEC to play their primary and constitutional roles properly to ensure a hitch-free election next year.