The Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) National Women Leader, Mrs Victoria Oviasojie, has urged women to be actively involved in sensitisation of their children against election violence as 2019 general elections approach.
Oviasojie, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, said that women had big role to play in promoting peaceful elections.
She said that addressing election violence began from the grassroots with women taking the leading role in sensitising their children on the dangers of electoral violence.
She said that it was possible to have peaceful and free elections in Nigeria with enough sensitisation from family to family, door to door, street to street, in wards, states and local governments.
“It is possible, we can do without violence in politics and electioneering period. How? We have to go to the grassroots to sensitise our children and educate them.
“Let the children know that you don’t need to kill yourselves because those people you are killing yourselves for are also drinking champagne together in the night. And that most of the politicians and their children are not there.
“These are the things we should tell our children and our youths.
“By the time you start doing this over time, th children will get to understand, and when they have better understanding, it is going to be an easy thing.
“In management language they said, doesn’t blame them if you don’t train them.
“So if you don’t train these children against violence, you cannot blame them. Somebody is going to give them money and say go and start shooting and killing people.
“I think it is really possible to do politics, even elections without violence, but it is a work that has to be done long before elections,“ she said
She also called on women to talk with their neighbourhood and communities, an exercise Oviasojie further urged should spread over to states and the country at large.
Oviasojie, however, said that such sensitisation should not be left for women alone, stressing that men should also be actively involved.
“Women should see it as their own priority while men should also support us by the side.’’
Oviasojie said that such sensitisation toward achieving peaceful elections should not be a fire brigade approach, but a long term project.
She further suggested that the awareness should be introduced to school curriculum in the secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
“May be in our syllabus we should have violence in politics as a topic or subject and over time, we are going to get to where peace we reign while we are doing politics. ‘’
Also commenting on the lift of ban on campaigns for 2019 President and National Assembly elections, Oviasojie advised political parties and their candidates not to be involved in hate speech but be objective.
“We need to dwell more on what we want to offer the community, dwell more on your manifesto, challenges of that environment or state or the country you want to govern and do less of criticism.
“I want us to give balance campaign material but not to hate speech.
“Let us dwell more on the nitty-gritty of the challenges we are facing in the community.‘’
Oviasojie also stressed the need to engage people in communication skills, which she said was still deficient in the country.
She expressed hope that Nigerians would soon overcome the challenge posed by hate speech as a lot of career people were getting involved in politics.