By Ogunbayo Oluwaseyi (INN), Ogun
As part of a nationwide campaign to encourage peaceful 2023 electioneering process, Team Ogun had launched a ‘Vote, Not Fight’ Campaign for the Disability Community.
The Campaign was launched under umbrella of the Joint Association of Persons With Disabilities, Ogun state Chapter at their monthly general meeting on Saturday 15th of October 2022.
Team leader, Sodiq Adebiyi enlightened the audience on the driving force behind the “Vote, not fight” Campaign. In his words: “Election is not war”.
Sodiq also explained what the group hopes to get from the campaign.
He said: “through the campaign, the group hopes to launch a movement that will enable People with Disabilities aggregate their voices for change and provide a meaningful alternative to violence before, during and after the 2023 elections.”
He noted that people with Disabilities had been victims of electoral violence in times past emphasized on the need to stop such reoccurring.
Going further, he says the initiative is a call to national service and the whole idea is to get everyone to understand the importance of being peaceful during the elections.
Sodiq said: “When you get involved in violence, you don’t know who is being affected; someone who could solve a major problem in our nation can be affected.
“We know that violence does not help anyone so what we are trying to do is to inculcate that culture among people. For us that is a huge gain. The gain is not something you can immediately see, it is a present-term, mid-term and long-term objectives.”
Adebiyi went on to urge the audience to not just participate, but to be active participants in the electoral and political processes that determine the pace of development in the nation.
The Convener, Mr Femi Adeosun is a Deaf person and Secretary General of Joint National Association of Persons With Disability in the State encouraged his people not to involve in any electoral violence before, during and after the elections.
Adeosun noted acts that could lead to fights during election: vote buying, rigging of election, trying to jump voting protocol, and so on.
During interactives, participants noted that Persons with Disabilities who feel marginalized by the mainstream political process had been influenced to take part in acts of electoral violence during the past elections.
The Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in Ogun State, Dr Ebohor Michael, commended the “Vote, not Fight” Team for bringing the campaign to the Disability Community.
He pledged to educate the Association’s members in all 20 Local Government Areas of the State to avoid any form of violence before, during and after the elections.