By Uche Anichukwu, Special Adviser (Media) to Deputy President of the Senate.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has assured that with vigilance of the Nigerian youth, nobody would be able to rig the 2019 general elections.
He also assured that the National Assembly caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would not be intimidated from holding the government accountable, just as it would continue to speak the truth in defence of democracy.
Ekweremadu gave the assurances Wednesday evening when he received the National, Zonal, and State Youth Leaders of the PDP in his office.
He said: “Nobody should be deceived that they will rig election in 2019. The international community will also be watching; and like the late Sam Mbakwe said ‘if you are awake, the rat would never take your fish.’ So if we ‘shine’ our eyes, nobody will rig us out.
“I’m sure some of you are now conversant with the misrepresentation of my statement on the floor of the senate last week where I cautioned against brigandage, impunity and thuggery and I said as leaders and politicians we must do the correct thing before we endanger our democracy. That is what I said.
“Never bother about their propaganda. We will continue to speak the truth. We will continue to defend our democracy and urge our leaders to always do the right thing.
“Sometimes, we may be misunderstood, but we will remain unrelenting. It was the great Nnamdi Azikiwe, who said that the best judge of human conduct is conscience. Keep saying the right thing. The person you are speaking to is hearing you; someday his conscience will prick him and he will do the right thing.
“We will not allow anybody to truncate this democracy because we believe that your own future is here now. Nobody will take his future in the past and come to continue your own future”.
Ekweremadu warned the youth against any form of electoral violence, describing it as “an ill wind that blows no man any good”.
“The days of violence are gone. We have to put on our thinking cap. Do not match any person violence for violence; but match them ideas over violence. It is ideas that rule the world”, he added.
The Senator promised that the PDP would, upon return to power in 2019, work towards job creation, unemployment benefits to the youth, and reduction of age qualification for all political offices to 18 years.
He continued: “Who says that we cannot pay unemployment benefits to the youth if we manage our resources well? We can.
“The next PDP government will expand the political space for the youth by abolishing age limit so that franchise begins and ends with the number eighteen. Once you can vote, you should be voted for”.
Earlier in his address, the National Youth Leader of the PDP, Hon. S.K.E Udeh Okoye, said that the Nigerian youth had suffered so much under the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration and were ready to support the PDP to return to power.
The PDP youth also conferred an award on Ekweremadu for defending the nation’s democracy.
Also speaking, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Philip Aduda; and the Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi, assured Nigerians that the PDP would bounce back in 2019 to rebuild the nation.