The Embassy of Israel in Nigeria has made a case for more investment in the education of young people to discourage them from being used to perpetrate violence during elections.
Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of Israel in Nigeria, Mr. Nadav Goren, made the call on Friday, during his speech at the 23rd Memorial Lecture of Late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, in Abuja.
The lecture was put together by the Yitzhak Rabin Centre for African Development in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in Nigeria.
Goren affirmed that the lecture, centered on Rabin’s contributions to peace building, had become imperative to educate young people on the dangers of electoral violence ahead of the 2019 general elections.
According to him, Rabin denounced all forms of violence in the public sphere as they are the undermining force that shakes the very foundations of a democracy and must be condemned.
“Controversy may arise in a democracy, but the decision must be reached through democratic elections with no bloodshed.
“As we speak today, conflicts at varying intensity are ongoing in the North East, Middle Belt and Niger Delta, as we approach elections in February.
“I call upon Nigerians to condemn, denounce and isolate violence, be resilient in opposing any form of violence and proudly promote the democratic discourse throughout the electoral process and thereafter.
“We in Israel believe the key to national progress lies in none less than quality education, which brings rise to independent thinkers.
“Nigeria must enable young leaders who will step out of their comfort zone, exhibit creativity and bring positive change to their lives and also their nation to emerge through education,” he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, President of the Yitzhak Rabin Centre, Dr. Blessing Ogini, said that the lecture was organised to commemorate the historical landmark relationship between Nigeria and Israel.
He described Rabin as a great leader whose pragmatic leadership style repositioned the political, economic and social landscape of the State of Israel and the world in general.
“The establishment of a tool for his ideology became imperative, this led to the formation of Yitzhak Rabin Centre for Israeli Studies.
“Also, the Yitzhak Rabin Centre for African Development consequently provided platform for establishment of the school in Port Harcourt on June 14, 2013.”
In his remarks, Rev. Samson Ozovehe, the Executive Secretary of Christians United for Israel Prayer Outreach, a faith based organisation, urged Nigerian leaders to emulate Rabin to promote nation building.
“As we approach 2019 polls, I like to remind our leaders, particularly the political class that democracy can and must accommodate different ideologies and belief.
“Let us obey the tenets of democracy and play by the rule, let us ensure we conduct our campaigns peacefully.
“Let us be magnanimous in victory and extend hand of fellowship to all irrespective of political party, we must create a peaceful atmosphere for credibility in electoral process,” Ozovehe said.
Rabin born in 1922, and died on Nov. 4, 1995. He was elected as Prime Minister in 1974, 1992 and also contributed to Israeli peace building.
The high point of the event was the conferment of Rabin awards and cultural dance on some distinguished personalities.