The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, said on Thursday that the Federal Government had stepped up its youths and voter education campaigns to check electoral violence.
Mohammed, who disclosed this in Lokoja at a two-day Annual Round Table on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), said that the campaigns would also help address all forms of manipulations.
The minister said at the forum, which had the theme `Culture in consolidation of Nigeria’s Democracy: The Role of Women and Youths’, that democracy would remain endangered in situations where elections were characterised by violence, thuggery and all forms of manipulations.
Mohammed, who was represented at the round table by Mrs Memunat Idu-Lah, Deputy Director, Festival and Carnival, Federal Ministry of Information, said that culture and democracy in contemporary times were critical factors in development.
“While democracy as a form of government promotes the will of the people expressed in periodic and credible elections as the basis of the authority of government, democracy itself is influenced, supported and strengthened by cultural values.
“In this regard, I wish to reiterate the commitment of the present administration to the promotion and consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy.
“This has been clearly demonstrated by creation of enabling environment for institutions of democracy to freely and effectively discharge their constitutional responsibilities.
“Women and youths are critical stakeholders in our democracy as they constitute over 50 per cent of our population and it is worthy to note that women empowerment and constant engagement with Nigerian youths has also received priority attention of this administration,” he said.
Louis Eriomala, Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute for cultural Orientation (NICO) speaking earlier, attributed the present state of cultural and moral degeneration in the country to the neglect of cultural values.
“Neglect of cherished cultural values of honesty, hard work, patriotism, respect for elders, respect for constituted authority and respect sanctity of human life have been replaced by the get -rich -quick syndrome and the culture of impunity,” he stated.
He said that no nation could achieve meaningful progress and development if the energy and potentials of its youths and women were not harnessed positively.
In his remarks at the round table was organised by NICO, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi said that for the youths to be able to shun thuggery, alternatives needed be provided.
He said that the state government had engaged youths in the three senatorial districts in skills acquisition and training in that direction.
Bello said that leaders should be telling the youth the truth for them to imbibe the culture of truth in their life for a better future.