From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
As Nigeria prepares to hold the 2023 general elections no fewer than 30 youth organizations have ganged up against political violence and youth thuggery in Gombe state. According to the groups converging under the Ready to Run movement, the gang-up was to ensure peaceful coexistence before, during and after the elections.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun in Gombe the national coordinator of the movement Comrade Auwal Gombe stated that the group had seen signs that the 2023 general elections will not be so different from the previous elections in terms of violence, desperation and hateful speech.
“From all indications, we have seen signs that the 2023 elections might be bloody going by the body language of the actors and key players who are not willing or likely to accept defeat,” Auwal said while stating the need for Civil Society Organization (CSOs) and other stakeholders to embark on a massive sensitization campaign to mitigate the treat.
According to him, the ready-to-run movement is made up of youths and youth organizations canvassing for good governance and other sensitization campaigns. “We are directly engaging and talking to the youths to try as much as possible to stay on the good side of the law, we should stop making ourselves available to be used as weapons by corrupt politicians and those desperate for power,” he said.
Auwal further explained that the group has in the last three months visited various schools sensitizing students and other youths against being involved in violence and political thuggery. “we have also engaged politicians and party leaders to stay clear of involving the youths in the politics of do or die. We encouraged them to play by the book while politicking, politics and elections are supposed to be about popularity and having the trust of the people and not a make-or-break affair,” the coordinator said.
“We have written to the police and other security organization inviting them to be watchful and proactive in mitigating crime and criminality including political thuggery, we have also reached out to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to be vigilant and work limit the circulation of drug and known substance of abuse,” Auwal added.
Meanwhile, the Gombe state police command assured that it has stepped up efforts to ensure peaceful coexistence before, during and after the general elections. According to the spokesman of the command ASP Mahid Muazu, the Police Commissioner in charge of the command CP Babatunde Babaita has engaged the politicians and leaders from various political parties in the state to address issues of rivalry between political parties and their politicians as well as their social media influencers.
“The CP organized the meeting with the politicians including chairmen, secretary and public relations officers of the parties, the second meeting was for the social media influencers and handlers from the various political parties in the state, now we are planning a ward to ward sensitization campaign for the youths and other vulnerable groups that could be targeted by the politicians to incite political violence or other social vices,” Mahid told Daily Sun.