By Salisu Sani-Idris
Twenty Bucks Creative and an NGO, Jalo Okwor Foundation, have launched a campaign to discourage youth from indulging in electoral violence through sports development.
The founder of the group, Mr Charbel Jarrouge made the disclosure during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the foundation, on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the goal was to host a football tournament in Dec. where the youth directorate of all the political parties would take part to promote peace in the country.
While describing sports especially football as a unifying factor, Jarrouge said it would go a long way to deepen love and peace within the youths that were mostly used as tools to perpetuate violence during elections.
I would like to start my speech by reminding us all about World War 1 event. During 1914 Christmas Day, when both parties decided to cease fire and played football peacefully. Unfortunately, due to political reasons they went back to war.
,Our focus is to campaign against violent elections in Nigeria come 2023 and our goal is to host a football tournament in Dec. and the teams include all political parties in Nigeria,he said.
On his part, the National Coordinator of Sports for Peace Initiative, Mr Stephen Okwor, said that the initiative would also support youth to overcome the temptation of being used as thugs and tools of electoral violence by some political office holders and seekers.
He said that the NGO was determined to help youth to develop their cognitive, physical tools and skills through advocacy, sensitization and education.
We have identified sports as a vehicle which accommodates everyone regardless of your age, tribe, ethnic, religious, economic and social status.
In view of this, we are using sports and football in particular to identify and redirect youth who could otherwise have followed false paths.
The aim is to leave youth with the concrete possibility of a social and economic life, devoid of violence and rancour, thereby promoting peace for themselves, their families and dependants.
The trickle down effect is felt also by the wider society and by Nigeria in particular, Okwor said.
He said that the signing of the MoU marked the beginning of a new phase in the quest for finding lasting peace in Nigeria.
Okwor said: We celebrate the birth of a partnership we have entered into this partnership with Twenty Bucks Creative, which is an advertising and marketing agency.
We believe that they operate using very high standards and have a reach that we desire, in order to create the level of impact that will be most effective in educating and sensitizing youths to promote peace and shun violence.
We are optimistic that this partnership will result in better exposure to the message we are bringing, which is the message of zero violence before, during and after elections.
He called on all Nigerians, especially the youth groups of the various political parties, candidates and their supporters, security agencies, the media and CSOs to be deliberate about preaching the message of peaceful elections.
Okwor commended the efforts of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, led by Prof. Bakut Tewah, as well as all other civil society organisations promoting peace in Nigeria.
We remain resolute in encouraging all youth to shun violence and be peaceful during the forthcoming elections and try to avoid violence as much as possible,he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani
Source: NAN News