By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Nigerian youths have been advised to eschew violence and not allow themselves to be used as instruments of violence in the forthcoming 2023 general election.
The National Chairman of the Youth Wing Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), Ambassador Belosochukwu Enwere gave the advice in Awka on Thursday while addressing members of the association and youth leaders of the various churches in Anambra State at the just-concluded End of the Year Retreat of the association for the year 2022.
According to him, the group, which is the youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has preaching of peace as one of its core mandates, which is the reason it embarked on sensitisation tour and peace preaching mission in different parts of the country, with the aim of watering the message of peace down to the grassroot.
He lamented that the 2023 general election is fast approaching and the nation is ravaged by insecurity of varying degrees, such as kidnapping, banditry, herdsmen, unknown gunmen, among other challenges. While reminding politicians that election is not a do-or-die affair, he also warned them play by the rules, while also urging everyone to tread with caution, especially in this political season, to avoid falling a victim of circumstance.
Amb. Enwere, however, also enjoined the masses to defend themselves against killers in whatever guise who would disrupt the peaceful conduct of next year’s election. He said Nigerians must take the bull by the horns to embrace peace and ensure peace reigns at all cost and at all levels, both before, during and after the elections.
The YOWICAN President also warned church leaders and members not to allow church pulpits to be used for electioneering campaigns; while also warning against political apathy or allowing oneself to be deceived with money and other gift items.
He further urged Nigerians to vote with their conscience by voting competent individuals into power and defending their votes come 2023 to ensure they count.
In his remark, the State Chairman of YOWICAN in Anambra, Hon. Nwabueze, Kingsley Nwokoye, who gave brief update on the activities of the group in the state, also hailed the National President for the historic visit, while also assuring him of continuous support and prayers as he pilots the affairs of the association and goes round the country on the peace mission.
In an interview, one of the participants at the retreat, Miss Cynthia Nweke described both the retreat and the National President’s visit as very significant and impactful, even as she appreciated the organizers of the event.
While appreciating the National President for his message of peace, Miss Nweke urged him to sustain the good work, and pledged to take the message further down to her members and other youths, to ensure the aim is well achieved.
Some executive members of YOWICAN in Anambra State were also present at the event, which include the Vice President, YOWICAN Anambra, Mr. Vincent Akuewuru; the Assistant Secretary, YOWICAN Anambra, Mr. Amen Chikezie; and the Director of Education, YOWICAN Anambra, Mr Vincent Mbakwe, among others.