As the 2019 General Elections draw near, Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, has warned young people to be wary of politicians who delight in using them as political thugs to achieve selfish interests.
Governor Dankwambo gave the charge in Gombe, the state capital, during the official opening ceremony of National Unity Convention of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
Represented by his Deputy, Mr. Charles Iliya, the Governor also advised the youths to eschew religious, ethnic, or political violence in the coming general elections, urging them to take advantage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill and seek elective positions rather than being used as thugs.
“I will like to call on the youth of this great nation, to be wary of politicians who took delight in using them as political thugs to achieve their political goal, only to dump them when they achieve their aims.
“Be warned therefore, even as preparation for the 2019 elections is drawing near. I challenge you also to take full advantage of the ‘Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill’ that has just been signed into law by being contestants into various elective political positions.
“You should also eschew violence of whatever nature, be it religious, ethnic, regional or political, to enable us achieve a Sustainable National Unity and Development”, Dankwambo said.
The youthful Governor also called on political elites to start seeing Nigerian youths as “reservoir of energy, which if properly harnessed, can transform into veritable tools for development”, and not as tools for election malpractices.
On his part, the Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Barr. Solomon Dalung, acknowledged the fact that the NYCN was going to hold a successful congress since the last one in Abuja 2008, due to factions.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, Education and Youth Development, Mrs Bakari Girei, said it is only when United, that the youths can take their rightful position in the society.
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman of Board of Trustees of NYCN, Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, advised the delegates to carefully elect young people that would ensure stability in the council and attract international collaborations.
Akoh lamented the inability of NYCN to hold successful convention since 2010, saying, the board under him, with the cooperation of the federal government and stakeholders, has made everything humanly possible “to break the jinx”, by midwifing a befitting unity congress billed to hold in Gombe Saturday.
Aside promising a free and fair election, the Board chairman assured that the new leadership of the council shall be youths within the ages of 18 and 35.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner of Youth Empowerment in Gombe State, Mallam Faruk Yarma; former Senior Special Assistant to President Goodkuck Jonathan on Youths and Students Matters, Jude Imakwe, and the outgoing President of NYCN, Mayor Enujeko; assured the delegates and stakeholders of peaceful and transparent process.
The trio urged leadership of the Youth Council to engage in massive sensitisation of young people across the country to encourage them to be actively involved in youth council activities, stressing that the youth must intensive efforts to collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of 2019 general elections.
Highlight of the ceremony include, the conferment of ‘Pillar of Nigerian Youth’ award and ‘Life Patron’ of the National Youth Council of Nigeria on Gombe state Governor, by the Board of the Council, which were also endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.