Few hours to the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections, Evelyn Osagie, a journalist with the Nation newspaper and a poetry and photography artist has staged Lovelines Poetry Concert and Outdoor “Together Series” Art Exhibition themed, ‘Vote with ink not blood’ to sensitise Nigerians against electoral violence.
The art-to-the-street project held on Valentine Day to mark her Word Meet Images 3.0 annual event, charged Nigerians to vote wisely, voting with ink and not blood in the February 16 and March 2 elections respectively.
Known onstage as Evelyn D’ Poet, Osagie who distinguishes herself with her Ankara head scarf, said every time Nigeria has an election, there is usually fear in the air if the country will disintegrate or if there will be bloodshed.
“During this election, we want peace and not violence or death. Politicians vying for any position in this country should know they are vying for such positions to serve. If you are not ready to serve, you should leave. If you are coming to do service, it is not by force that you must serve people. People must choose and also accept your service. If they don’t want you, then you go home and do other things.
“Political positions should not be a profession. It should not be offices where people make money, gather properties or gather wealth and at the end of the day, the people suffer. Rather, political position is a collective good to drive the country to a place of development,” she asserted.
Osagie advised Nigerian youths who easily take to election violence because of money to leave that for the now; they should drive their passion for the good of humanity. She also used the platform to advocate that the works of artists and talents should be taken seriously to bring out the best in them.
Veteran dramatist and cultural activist, Ben Tomoloju, who described Evelyn Osagie as a passionate, multi-talented artist, noted that the message of the exhibition was apt.
According to Tomoloju, Nigeria has been experiencing pockets of violent which have been bloody and reckless due to massive ignorance of the electorate. He equally noted that the disposition of some politicians to make elections a do-or-die affair should be discouraged.
“Nigerians should vote critically. They should vote for their conscience. Take your choice from the perspective of who can perform, a candidate who has the ideological commitment to turn Nigeria around. There are many pretenders around. However, we can know the passionate politicians by looking at their past records.
“The first-timer politicians should not join the band wagon but deliver to the people justice and equity,” he said.
The Valentine Day outdoor event started with a photo exhibition where 13 symbolic photographs were displayed. The pictures depicted the story of Nigeria – past, present and what the future should be. There were also a play let titled, “Our votes, our bullets.” There were also poetry rendition, dance drama and musical performances.