Raphael Ede, Enugu
Stakeholders at the presentation of the Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR) project for the 2019 general elections in the South East, at the weekend, called for a total overhaul of the electoral system, to allow for electronic voting.
The stakeholders, who were drawn from various civil society organisations, the media and security agencies, said with the introduction of electronic voting in future polls, incidences of election violence in Nigeria would be mitigated.
The report was presented by the Women Aid Collative (WACOL), in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), at Danic Hotel, Enugu.
They attributed the voter apathy witnessed during the governorship and state assembly elections to the militarisation and manipulation of the presidential and National Assembly polls, which they said eroded the confidence of the electorate in the system.
Presenting the reports as monitored in the South East region, a researcher and data analyst with WACOL, Dr. Malachy Ochie, said the project was envisioned to develop the capacity of the civil society to monitor, analyze and respond to incidents of election-related conflict/violence before, during and after the elections in Nigeria.
The project was also meant to promote collaboration and dialogue between election stakeholders, in order to mitigate and/or prevent election violence.
According to him, 125 election monitors were trained and deployed, 20 to each states of Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra and Abia, while 25 monitors were deployed to Imo State.
Ochie, who is also a senior lecturer at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), said apart from Enugu State, where incidences of election violence were minimal, elections in other states were characterised by violence, thuggery, killings and destruction of property.
“Apart from reported incidences of violence in places like Ebonyi, Abia and Imo, our monitors equally reported large scale vote buying and voter-intimidation by political thugs.
“The security operations received plaudits in some areas and knocks in other areas,” such as in Imo, Anambra and Abia states, respectively.