The youths in Kogi State have been cautioned against engaging in vote buying and violence in the lead-up to, during, and after the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The warning was issued by the Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ulu James Okoro, during a Kogi Youth town hall meeting where the Charter of Demand by Kogi youths was presented to the gubernatorial candidates in the state.
Represented by the Principal Superintendent of Operations at the agency, Sikpi Nathaniel, the Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner emphasized that the ICPC, as part of its mandate to eradicate corruption in the country, would actively work to combat electoral corruption during the upcoming elections.
He reminded the youth that the ICPC, along with other security agencies, had previously monitored and taken action against vote buying and voter suppression in the last election, including making arrests and collecting biometrics for further investigation.
Okoro pledged that the ICPC would deploy its available resources to monitor and curb all forms of corrupt practices during the November 11 governorship elections. He encouraged Kogi’s youth to be responsible citizens, distance themselves from electoral misconduct, and enjoy peace of mind.
Additionally, Okoro urged the youth in Kogi to reject violence and make informed choices when selecting their leaders for the next four years. He stressed the significance of the youth population, which accounts for 70 percent of Nigeria’s total population, and the need to engage them productively to prevent societal burdens resulting from idleness.
The event also featured statements from the Kogi State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who condemned the destruction of communication masts by youths in the state during previous elections. The NSCDC assured the electorate that such incidents would be prevented in the upcoming election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi State, Gabriel Longpet, affirmed that INEC was fully prepared for the forthcoming off-cycle election. He reminded citizens that the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) would conclude on October 9, 2023, and noted that all non-sensitive materials had been received and distributed across the state’s 21 Local Government Areas.
Earlier in the event, various speakers stressed the importance of curbing fake news, hate speech, and violence throughout the electoral process.