March 2, 2024

Educate Members, Electorates To Avoid Electoral Violence – INEC Urges Politicians

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged political parties to educate their followers and electorates on the need to avoid electoral violence and chaos before, during and after elections.

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In a one-day sensitization workshop for youths organized by Queens and Pet Concept Initiative supported by Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC), against electoral violence and other vices, with the theme: “Niger-Delta Youths, Say No To Electoral Violence,” Mr. Richard Abu Ivharue, from the Department of ICT, INEC Headquarters Edo State, said political education of the voters is very vital for a sustainable democratic consolidation.

Ivharue added that, INEC, NOA, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and other relevant agencies should step up public enlightenment on the evil of electoral crises and its effects on democracy. He also begged that politicians should imbibe the spirit of tolerance, maturity and accommodation.

He asserted that there is need for them to embrace dialogue, as a veritable tool for resolving conflict and added that all perpetrators of electoral crises, regardless of their political affiliation must be punished to serve as deterrence to others.

“Efforts have been made in this paper to discuss election crises, and democratic consolidation in Nigeria, since 1999. It was evident that crises have enveloped our electoral processes since 1999. The elections conducted within these periods were marked with cases of electoral fraud and marred with cases of cries,” he posited.

On his part, Victor  Ohiosumua, Esq listed poverty, money politics, ethnic rivalry, illiteracy, corruption , Godfatherism, financial inducement, lack of credibility, youth unemployment, impunity , human right abuse, hate speech, fake news, inter and intra party violence and insecurity as causes of electoral violence.

He said others are; stupendous wealth available to political office holders, desperate manner toward politics by party leaders and members. He therefore highlighted the dangers, effects and legal implications of electoral violence as death and injuries, distortion of properties, insecurity.

Ohiosumua said others includes; youth portends a grave danger to the future of Nigeria society, hampers effective political competition and participation, proliferation of arms for other criminal activities and external image crisis which affects international relations in other nations.

He said the limitation to curbing the involvement of the youths in electoral violence remains that of the right authorities implementing the country’s law. “Youths as the doorways to a peace continuum must be exposed to peace education.

“It is expected that peace education will help to redress the culture of violence and aggression, and also inculcate the value of peaceful coexistence and non-existence among the young persons and adult alike.”

Given the reasons for electoral violence,  a former Leader of the Esan South-East Legislative Assembly, Hon. Wilson Ibhawa,  said poverty, unemployment, poor value system and win at all cost syndromes are some of the plights.

The occasion also witnessed questions from the participants, and answers were given by the guest speakers that spoke at the event.

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