By Justina Auta
Presidential Planners’ Forum (PPF), a coalition of youth bodies agitating for positive change and better living condition for Nigerians, has urged youths to embrace peace and shun violence, as the 2023 general elections approach.
President of the forum, Mr Julius Jonah-Guvwar, made the call after an emergency National Board of Directors’ convention committed to national reconciliation, on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Jonah-Guvwar, the political atmosphere in Nigeria is such that youths must ensure that the right and credible leaders are elected in all political offices to enable them deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
He urged the youth to register and get voter cards in order to be able to exercise their rights, do away with god-fatherism and participate actively in politics instead of lamenting about poor governance.
“Youths must do away with godfatherism. We must bring active youths and women into this, while the disabled should also not be left. We must bring all on board so that we can salvage this country.
“This country means a lot to us. We do not have any place to go; so we must protect it.
“All these leaders are using us, especially the youth, to get what they want and after that, they give us PA, and tomorrow, you cannot contest for election because you do not have the substance.
“The youth as well as women must realise this, because women in particular constitute the highest number of voters in this country,” he said.
Jonah-Guvwar stated that PPF was not political in nature but was established in 2019 to accommodate different groups in Nigeria with a view to canvassing for a united and progressive Nigeria.
“We are all Nigerians and there are so many things we want to look at because lots of things have gone wrong.
“We are not saying that our leaders have not tried at their own end, but the truth here is that we all have stake in this country and we must get it right. And, we can only achieve this when we come together as one.
“Whatever is happening in this country should be our collective business,” he said.
According to the PPF president, for the nation to get it right, Nigerians must use the available resources to revive the economy and address insecurity.
Similarly, Board Chair and Secretary of the forum, Umar Ismail, stressed the need for identifying the various agitations of youth groups in the country in order to address them and prevent any form of violence.
While adding that violence was never an alternative to dialogue, he said that PPF would do everything possible to mobilise every aggrieved group and individual, and ensure the building of an ideal nation.
“We all have the right to agitate, as nobody is comfortable in the country any more, but it should not be by violence.
He said that the group was committed to peaceful coexistence and national reconciliation, both of which were necessary for violence-free elections in 2023.
Ismail added that PPF would not relent in its efforts at canvassing for a united and progressive country, stressing that Nigeria was better together.
Also speaking, Ms Salome Nwogu, representing Abia, said that PPF had members across all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
Nwogu, while stressing the role women played in the society, encouraged the public to support women and persons with disabilities to participate in all the political processes by voting and being voted for during election periods.
“Women are very important, because looking at the aspect of election, they vote more than the men. Therefore, you cannot wish them away in the scheme of things.
“Likewise, people with disabilities should be allowed to vote and be voted for. We should not look at their physical challenges and deprive them of the opportunity, as they are also bona fide citizens of Nigeria,” she said. (NAN)