The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has charged first time voters and youths to avoid vote buying in the up-coming elections.

This statement was made during a program organized by Step Up Nigeria titled “First Time Voters Integrity Initiative Launch and Award of Certificates to Integrity Certified private Schools in Lagos”, held at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s residence in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Mrs. Mary Omonoyan of the ICPC Lagos Office told the youths it was important for them not to engage in unethical behaviour but stand out for what is right, while informing participants of the Commission’s several interventions which include monitoring of elections in partnership with INEC and partnering with several non-governmental organizations in the sensitization of citizens against vote-buying especially at the grassroots.

She encouraged the youths present to visit the Commission’s website and social media platforms, and to partner with the ICPC to increase awareness on political integrity.

Mr. Ben Liewellyn-Jones, the British Deputy High Commissioner, in his message said that Nigerians can make a change and change the narrative of bad governance. He urged young people not to sell their votes, rather they should reflect on why their vote is important and not worth selling.

A special address was delivered by Mr Greg Ojefua, a Nollywood actor, who motivated participants to make informed decisions to vote their conscience as it will assist in making Nigeria great again.

He said the youths should not be discouraged by what is happening around and rather reflect on what they would benefit from not selling their votes.

Earlier, the Executive Director, Step Up Nigeria, Mrs Onyi Ough, in her welcome remarks said the program arose from the need to use innovative ways to encourage young people who are first time voters to participate effectively in governance by voting right and guide against vote-buying.

She encouraged the youths to vote for service delivery, which includes provision of basic amenities and not trade their votes for anything because there is power in their vote.

The highlight of the programme was the award of certificates to six low-cost private schools who had fulfilled the criteria of building integrity in their schools with the Step-Up Nigeria Integrity Certification Program.