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By Stephen Adeleye.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Kogi Central Senatorial district on Saturday held a joint solidarity march aimed at mobilizing support for continuity for President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov Yahaya Bello.
Mr Isa Babangida, the Kogi Central Coordinator of NYCN, told newsmen in Okene, that the exercise was organised by the youths from all the five local government areas of Okene, Adavi, Okehi, Ajaokuta and Ogorimangogo in Kogi central.
According to Babangida, the youth want to use the solidarity walk to send signal to the whole world that the Kogi central youths are solidly behind GYB and PMB come 2019.
“We have the energy and we are ready to use it to support the two leaders to get them to the promise land for continuity, and we shall deliver on our promise
“We are taking it upon ourselves to move round communities and schools across Kogi central to educate our youths on the need to support PMB and GYB come 2019 for continuity.
“We taking it upon ourselves to start a house to house and door to door campaign in making sure that PMB and our own vibrant the youngest Governor in subsaharan Africa come back in 2019.
“We are also giving our youths first hand orientation on drug abuse, crime and other social vices, and to always embrace peace which is tantamount to any societal development,” Babangida said.
In his remarks, the Kogi Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Sani Ogu Salisu, said that the youths form the major percentage of the electorate that decide the fate of any leader, be it local, state and federal elections.
“So, we are here to sensitise our people especially the youths on the need to return GYB and PMB to Lugard House and Aso Rock respectively come 2019. Our major aim is to mobilise the youth for the needed support for continuity.
“In Kogi today, we have youthful Government in place, in the history of Nigeria since 1999, it has never happened in any state the way it is happening presently in Kogi.
“We have never had youths participation in governance like this before, but now that we have it, I will advice the teeming youth to be more focused and committed to supporting the new direction government for continuity,” Salisu said.
On his part, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Engr Abubarkar Ohere, said that the youths of Kogi were perfectly in line with the new direction government led by Gov Bello.
According to Ohere, the NYCN particularly from Kogi Central decided to come together to showcase their support for PMB and GYB Administrations and to also express their commitment to the ideal leadership of the duo.
“Just recently, the leadership of INEC expressed their commitment to ‘one man one vote’, and that the 2019 election is going to be decided by Nigerians, and if it is for numbers, I think both PMB and GYB have enough strength to continue to sustain their offices by the grace of God.
“We have always emphasis for youth engagement in governance and the GYB has demonstrated it by way of empowering the youths.
“Just recently over 3000 youths were engaged in empowerment skills. GYB has been trying to make sure that when youths are properly engaged, the issue of thuggery, violent during elections will be a thing of the past.
“That is why you are seeing this show of support, strength and humility today. I am sure the program will move around other senatorial districts across the state,” Ohere said.
Mr Abdulrasaq Mohammed, the Administrator of Okene Local Government, said that the gathering was to mobilize support for PMB and GYB for their second term in office, and to say no to drug abuse, thuggery, crime and other social vices.
“In terms of security GYB has scored 99.9 per cent and the overall performance is above 70 per cent because he met a huge rot in the system,” Mohammed said.
Mrs Petra Onyegbule, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Gov. Bello, said: “We are all here gathered because youths in Kogi central district have said that their support belongs to GYB and PMB come 2019”.
According to her, it is all about continuity and marching in solidarity with these two great leaders of ours to stabilise the work they have started and the economy.
“To stamping out corruption and ensuring that we are secure in our communities, homes, and that our land and country is safe enough for investment.
“Without investment there is a limit to what we can do in empowering the youths because they form the most demographic unit of our nation.
“So, their voices are loud and we have heard them clearly that come 2019, it is continuity for President Buhari and Gov. Bello, all the way,” she said.
The CPS added that Kogi had become a model state in youths participation in governance and leadership, saying “Kogi is a state where you have almost the youthful age of about 32, in the GYB cabinet”.
She urged other states to emulate such system, and stressed the need for more youths participation, saying they have the zeal, zest and the know how to get things done right and moving.
“As elections come close, I want youths to see themselves as tools for national development and not as tool in the hands of politicians who do not mean well for them.
“We should shun any attempt to be used by politicians for violence and thuggery. We should remember that election is not war because after election, life continues.
“We need to be ensure that we exercise our franchise by going to register, and collect our PVC and apply for transfer if the need be. The process is cleared as put in place by INEC.
“Beyond voting we have to support the government and also criticize constructively when the need be, and also ensure that we give government all the support required,” Onyegbule said.
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