Thursday, July 22, 2010

Enough is Enough in Minna

What made the 1993 elections good ones in Nigeria was in large part because of the high turnout. Its harder to rig elections when many people vote. The Enough is Enough campaign is therefore focusing on raising awareness of the importance of voting. Press release below:

EnoughisEnough kicks off Voter Education Meeting in Minna

On Saturday, July 18 2010 at the Federal University of Technology, Minna –
Bosso Campus; JCI, Rotaract, Intersynergy Consulting and the Student Union
Government (SUG) hosted the first EnoughisEnough Nigeria (EiE) Town Hall
Meeting in Nigeria.

The purpose of the Town Hall meetings is to facilitate discussion around
EiE’s campaign for the 2011 General Elections –
Register.Select.Vote.Protect (RSVP). Each of the 4 aspects of the campaign
are discussed in depth with the objective of identifying practical steps
to engage the electorate in the process. Many will remember that the duo
of Professor Wole Soyinka and Governor Babatunde Fashola activated this
campaign on a nationwide scale at the Save Nigeria Group’s Voter Education
Rally supported by EiE.

Short speeches were given by the presidents of the partner organisations
as well as Amara Nwankpa and Blaze Otokpa of LightUpNigeria and ‘Gbenga
Sesan of Paradigm Initiative, which are EiE coalition members.

Nwankpa challenged the young people with a statement from Pastor Tunde
Bakare, the convener of SNG, making the point that collaborating towards
the goal of changing Nigeria is the only way.

The guest of honor was Alhaji Danladi Umar, Director General, Directorate
of Values Re-Orientaton and Poverty Eradication in Niger State. He spoke
on the ‘Role of the Youth in Sustainable Democracy’ through a highly
interactive session. In his short introduction, he said that in Nigeria,
democracy can be defined as “Government of the few, for the few, by the
fewer,” and encouraged young people to “engage constructively in the
electoral process.” He then facilitated the interactive session where he
asked the audience to provide examples of how young people can engage
constructively in the electoral process.

Jane Frances, one of the female students, said very passionately that
young people must be willing to make sacrifices for Nigeria as the
struggle for good governance will not be easy. For each example given,
Alhaji Umar gave some practical tips from his experience.

During the Q&A session at the end, one of the students narrated his
experience in Oyo State where cutlasses were placed behind people’s necks
as they voted to ensure they voted for a candidate. As a result of that
experience, his mother has banned everyone in the house from registering
and participating in the electoral process. He ended by asking if violence
was a viable option to ‘Protect’ our votes.

Sesan, speaking on behalf of EiE, said the coalition does not condone
violence as a tool, but we do expect people to act in self-defense when
the situation demands. Issues around the Voters Registration Exercise and
Election Monitoring were also discussed.

It was a rewarding 4-hour session and the organizers are planning other
THMs for the main campus of FUT, Minna as well as the polytechnic. The
first THM was held in London under the Dial-a-Vote Campaign which urges
Nigerians in the diaspora to encourage their friends and family in Nigeria
to vote.

Subsequent THMs are planned in the US and across in other states.
Participants are made to become ambassadors for the RSVP message after
each town hall.

“As more funding comes in, our plan is to visit all of Nigeria’s 36
states,” Nwankpa said. “This is in addition to all our other plans to
mobilize young people in the urban centres to vote in 2011 – all our
efforts are focused relentlessly on that mission.”

EnoughisEnough Nigeria (EiE), founded in March 2010, is the largest
coalition of Nigerian youth and youth-led organizations. Our goal is civic
participation and, for the next one year, we are focused on mobilizing
young Nigerians to influence the 2011 general elections by voting for
credible candidates and protecting those votes.

We are a non-partisan movement, which means we are not aligned to any
political party and not aligned to any political candidate.

‘Yemi Adamolekun
Interim Executive Secretary


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