Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Stakeholders at a workshop organised by the International Republican Institute (IRI) have identified the ineffectiveness of rule of law and weak institutions involved in electoral processes as some of the factors instigating violence during an election in the country.
In a communiqué made available to Daily Sun, they also noted that ethnicity, poverty, absence of level playing grounds at intra party level, prevalence and frequent influence of moneybags.
It further included bad governance, political parties, aspirants and candidates, media, social media and fake news as well as religious and tribal sentiments as potential drivers of electoral violence in the state and the country at large.
The workshop was held, in Sokoto and tagged ‘Consensus Building on Election Violence Mitigation’ with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
It was attended by political party stakeholders, civil society organizations and media practitioners under the auspices of Young Political Party Leaders Academy (YPPLA)
The communiqué reads in part: “Ineffectiveness of rule of law, weak institutions involved in electoral processes, ethnicity, poverty, absence of level playing grounds at intra party level, prevalence and frequent influence of moneybags.
“Bad governance, political parties, aspirants and candidates, media, social media and fake news as well as religious, and tribal sentiments are the key potential drivers of electoral violence in the state and the country at large.”
The participants recommended a robust political enlightenment and sensitisation campaign by all and sundry including major stakeholders which include INEC, Political parties and the media.
They also called for mobilisation efforts to focus on strengthening of political institutions, ensure the enforcement of electoral rules, transparency of the electoral processes, and enhancement more participation of all groups including PWDs.
Also speaking, the guest speaker and Political scientist, Dr. Ibrahim Sani while speaking on the topic, ‘Scenario Planning on Election Violence Mitigation’, said except the Independent National Electoral Commission strive to be a strong and independent institution, its electoral processes may continue to witness perpetual violence and other malpractices.
He identified the use of ad hoc staff by electoral empire to execute elections as a factor that often pave way for violence in an election.
“Many political actors often hijack the selection of ad hoc staff in order to influence them to do their bids during elections. And if this is done, it is clear that these ad hoc staff will not be interested in credible elections but to serve the interest of their bidders because the politicians are the one that lobbied for the recruitment.
“In most countries like USA, credible volunteers are enlisted to perform the responsible of ad hoc staff without vested interest and nobody can influence them in whatsoever means.
“That is why their democracy institutions were more stronger and devoured of violence,” Sani explained.
He also suggested that unless INEC strived to be truly independent and effective in the election processes, the prevailing violence during elections in Nigeria may continue unabated.
The university don, however, urged Nigerians to have self-governed altitude which could make them do what is right with interference, adding that, “When you know what is right, you won’t be motivated to do evil. Also, our political parties have to play in accordance to the rule of the game.”