The West Africa Network for Peace-building Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria) in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) has launched an early warning project to prevent threats capable of derailing the peaceful conduct of the 2019 General Elections in the country.
The ‘Election Monitoring Analysis and Mitigation Project (EMAM) project and Validation of Indicators for 2019 Nigeria Elections’, which was formally launched yesterday in Abuja, was also designed to enhance public participation and contribution to the prevention of electoral violence during the elections.
Speaking at the launch, the Head Early Warning Division, AU, Ambassador Fred Ngoga, said that the AU will be deploying a pre-electoral assessment mission in the coming weeks to consider the state of preparedness of the 2019 elections by all stakeholders.
Represented by Ms. Mfrekeobong Ukpanah, of the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS)
Peace and Security Department, AU Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Ngoga urged all stakeholders to shun all acts of violence and use of only peaceful legal channels to address any dispute that may arise during and after the elections.
“As partners in the pursuit of sustainable peace and security, the AU reaffirms its unconstitutional commitment and support to the government and people of Nigeria to ensure a most peaceful and credible polls, where only Nigeria will emerge victorious,” Ngoga said.
Also, the WANEP Executive Director, Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze, said that the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections in Africa cannot be shouldered by AU, ECOWAS and its member states alone, and that there was a need for civil society organizations (CSOs) to make concerted efforts to ensure a resounding success.
The 19-page document among others creates a platform to access information on risk factors that threaten the conduct of elections; and provide avenue for exchange of relevant information to key stakeholders to respond to election violence before, during and after the elections among others.
On her part, the National Network Coordinator of WANEP-Nigeria, Chief Bridget Osakwe, who quoted a section of the document, said that while the primary responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national governments and other local actors, greater ownership by the people, is likely to result in a more legitimate process and sustainable outcomes.
“The project is designed to facilitate and support local and national response architectures that link early warning with informed response to prevent or mitigate identified threats capable of affecting the peaceful conduct of the Nigerian 2019 elections,” she said
Also, the Board Chair, WANEP-Nigeria, Sir Barinem Vulasi, said the successes of the 2015 elections raised hopes and expectations of further progress in the electioneering processes, but that the optimism is being challenged by political and security threats in the lead up to the polls.