By Uduak Pepple
With barely six days to the forthcoming general elections nationwide the youths of Cross River State have been admonished to use their votes as their greatest weapon, and to guard it and prefer it to the bullet or violence as the state has been known for it’s peaceful atmosphere over the years.
This admonition was given at a youth debate/interactive session organized by Generational Voices (GenVoices) in collaboration with British Councils (BC), Enough is Enough (EiE), and Ballot Not Bullet (BNB) at 520 Kolanut conference center, Barracks road Calabar.
Our correspondent reports that the debate was thrilling and engaging as it witnessed youths and representatives of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) engage in stimulating and intellectual discuss on issues of national interest and socio-economic relevance to the state in particular.
The debate which was categorized into two phases: the Presidential and National Assembly as phase one with the Gubernatorial and State Assembly as phase two revolved around the parties ideologies, manifestos and antecedents, as well as how such ideologies and manifestos can transform to meaningful national development which the state and the country at large was identified to be in dare need of.
Also, the parties youth representatives were made to brainstorm on why Nigeria is still where she is despite her enormous natural resources and intellectual potentials. At the state level, they critically looked at the possibilities of Cross River State surviving beyond oil and tapping the largely untapped resources and potentials.
In a chat with CrossRiverWatch, many participants expressed joy and satisfaction with the organizers as many believed the exercise will go a long way in spreading the gospel about the need for a peaceful, free and fair election in the country and Cross River State in particular.
Many also expressed disappointment that there were no top party big wigs present at the event to have a first hand idea of how the youths feel about their political leanings and the way forward from the youth perspective.
CrossRiverWatch observed that though the debate was interesting the hall was half filled.
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