Despite shift in election date from February 14th and 28th, 2015 to March 28th and 11th April, 2015, the #VoteNotFight campaign continued. On Friday, 6th February, 2015 the team was hosted for 20 minutes on Diamond101.1 FM University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The community radio availed the #VoteNotFight team the opportunity to extend the reach of its audience. Speaking in both English and Yoruba on the programme, ‘Sola Fagorusi, coordinator of #VoteNotFight, Oyo State reminded the audience that it was their civic duty to vote and that Nigerians do not have to wait to have policies like that in Australia and other countries where citizens were fined for not voting before exercising their civic responsibility.
The Vote Not fight Campaign is a non-partisan campaign championed by the National Democratic Institute and it is being executed by Youngstars Foundation, Tuface Idibia Foundation and 12 Local partners including OneLife Initiative for Human Development, which is the coordinating organisation for the campaign in Oyo State. OneLife is a non-governmental organisation that works to support young people’s development around areas of governance, micro-enterprise and new media technology. Other states where the project is being executed include Benue, Kaduna, Lagos, Abia, Gombe, Ebonyi, Kano, Kaduna and AkwaIbom. The campaign is designed around sensitising the Nigerians to desist from violence during and after election as no politician worth dying for. Speaking on the programme, Simon Fatoyinbo, an intern with OneLife Initiative noted that no politician was worth dying for and that they could only remunerate one for few months and not for four years whether they win or not.
Beat FM 97.9 FM Ibadan also played host to the group on Monday, 9th February, 2015 for 25 minutes where they were asked questions particularly as touching the elections and were allowed to share insights into the #VoteNotFight project. Issues around governance and democracy were also discussed on the programme. Fagorusi explained that ‘during the 2011 post presidential election crisis, statistics available shows that about 800 people were killed and 6,000 injured; I was living in Kaduna then so I understand how devastating violence can be.’ Nigeria presently has 26 political parties registered by INEC and there are 14 aspirants for the presidential seat. In Oyo State, there are 12 aspirants hoping to be sworn in as governor (including the incumbent) on May 29, 2015. Already there have been instances of violence during campaigns. The #VoteNotFight team appealed to listeners on the programme that life has to continue after election and it will only happen if the country is experiencing peace. They also charged the public to bear it in mind that Politicians cannot give you more than a year salary and election periods are not periods of warfare but a sensitive period to choose wisely.
The group also explained that elections are not to be avoided, politics has everything to do with the people; from having a good education, to having a good job, even to having a secure and assured future, so it’s important we go out to put the best person we think can do it in position. Finally, they encouraged everyone especially youths that are eligible to vote to go out to collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and exercise their franchise to vote because we are all involved.
In the last three months, the team in Ibadan, Nigeria has run an online campaign on #VoteNotFight and also met with key stakeholders like the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Sawmill Association, Bodija Market Association, Nollywood celebrities and ordinary citizens on the street. It has also engaged with religious institution like the Anglican Church, Bodija Central Mosques and 28 football teams from across the state during the finals of the Nero Cup – Oyo State most prestigious football competition. At Bodija Market, one of the largest markets in Ibadan, the group met with the leadership of the market and also presented a T-shirt to the chairman of the group, Alhaji Azeez Olalekan. The #VoteNotFight team also interacted with sellers in the market and had a number of then also pose for pictures using the #VoteNotFight placard.
The campaign can be signed on to at www.votenotfight.org and the conversation on social media space can be followed using #VoteNotFight. Live updates from OneLife Initiative during the campaign can be followed through @onelifeng