Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Rivers State has made a case for synergy with youth organisations and the commission to achieve peaceful elections in the state and Nigeria.
The appeal was made yesterday in Port Harcourt by the Resident Electoral Commissioner Dame Gesila Khan, when she received awards of excellence from ‘NEW Rivers Vision Students, and Orashi Like-minds Associations. She noted that such regular interactive sessions will help to achieve improved, peaceful, credible, free and fair elections in future elections.
Khan who regretted that in all elections Youths were the target victims and willing tools in the hands of corrupt and unpopular politicians, noted that such was the reason on arrival to the state, mapped out strategies for peaceful elections, and embarked on relevant sensitization campaigns towards achieving it.
The Rivers INEC REC also stated that of the 23 Local Government Areas LGAs in the state, she with her team was able to cover 16 of them in her campaigns, expressing satisfaction with the responses from such LGAs. “The Rivers mothers and youths did not fail us, they co-operated with us, and that was why of the 26,000 adhoc staff that worked for us during the election, we did not lose anybody. If there were any violence, the bloodletting would have been grave’, she testified.
She urged the youths of the states to always toe the line of peace in their live endeavours, reminding them that they were future presidents, governors, ministers, and even commissioners. ‘There can be no progress, development, wealth creation and security in the absence of peace. Peace is the greatest gift of God to mankind”, she remarked.
Khan further disclosed that the commission had stated preparations for the next elections with a view to improving on their performances, disclosing that the awards of excellence from those associations had rather challenged the commission to work even harder.
In their request for inclusion of 15 percent of youths in ad-hoc staff recruitment into INEC, the REC promised to grant their demand within two weeks.
In their separate speeches, the presidents of Rivers New Vision, and Orashi Like-minds Association, Comrade Chimzi Ihunwu, and Dr. Ashar Tonye respectively, extolled the virtues of Khan. They lamented that the youths of the state had been relinquished to the background due to lack of effective youth legislation.
The associations also demanded the statistics of the just concluded elections, for them to know the percentage of youth participation in the elections and ad-hoc staff recruitment by INEC.

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