By Tony Edike
ENUGU — A pressure group made up of youths in Enugu State, Voice of the Youths, VOY, has said that its decision to endorse one of its leaders, Architect Fidelis Chime, for Udi South state constituency seat in Enugu House of Assembly was to disprove claims of automatic ticket granted the incumbent, Mrs. Chika Eneh, by Governor Sullivan Chime.
In a statement signed by its Secretary, Mr. Chibuzor Udozor, the group said it had observed with dismay attempts by some legislators to use cheap blackmail to joggle their way back to various legislative houses on the guise of a non-existent automatic tickets given to serving legislators by Governor Chime.
It pointed out that the youths were determined to challenge the existence of any such automatic ticket for Udi South Constituency.
The alleged granting of automatic tickets to both serving federal and state legislators from the state by Chime as a reward for their loyalty to his government since 2007, had been blamed for the current political crisis rocking the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party.
Udozor explained that the Voice of the Youths, which represents the interest of youths in Enugu State, would do all in its power to arrest all forms of political corruption, including the imposition of candidates in the forthcoming general elections.
He stated that time had come for youths in Nigeria to take their political destiny in their hands, instead of being strait-jacketed into thuggery and perpetrators of electoral violence.
He argued that the best place to groom youths as future leaders was the legislature, stressing that by acquiring capacity for the legislative processes, youths would have the ability to add their voice and contribute their quota to the governance of the state and nation under the present democratic system.
Part of the statement read: “We, the members of the Voice of the Youths, have watched with keen interest but with great pain how some legislators have been using the clever subterfuge of automatic tickets to rig their way back into office.
“While we doubt that any such assurances or automatic tickets were granted the legislators by Governor Sullivan Chime, we insist on endorsing the aspiration of our leader, Architect Fidelis Chime for Udi South state constituency.
“Having raised 144 reasons why Governor Sullivan Chime, deserves a second term in office, we expect the governor to reciprocate our gesture of support by allowing one of us to represent Udi South constituency in the State House of Assembly.
“We have discovered that only those legislators that have performed poorly in their representation that are vocal in the claim that the governor has granted them automatic return tickets to the State and National Assembly. Instead of being cowed down by such intimidation, we are prepared to challenge these false claims”.
The group stated that apart from mobilizing youths to take active part in the voters’ registration, the youths should be allowed to take positions of responsibility in the emerging political evolution of the country, recalling that during the days of nationalist movements, youths were in the vanguard for the fight for the nation’s independence.
“Now that we have both the independence and practical democratic system of government, new oppressors have come up using various methods to exclude youths from active participation in the socio_political development of the country. Some of these oppressive godfathers recruit youths as thugs or musicians to chorus their perpetuity in power.”
VOY, the statement further said, was studying the political environment closely with a view to identifying responsible youths to support for various elective and appointive positions noting that as the nation prepares for credible elections, youth who excel in example conduct and leadership capacity would supported to run for political offices.
“If Sam Grace Ikoku defeated his father at an election in the second republic, we hope that with the assurances of credible elections, youths will begin to uproot old stooges of political stagnation. We would demonstrate this in Udi south state constituency where we have indentified one of us, Architect Fide Chime for the House of Assembly,” the group stated.