The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has called on security agencies to quickly deploy their personnel to identified flashpoints to prevent the eruption of violence after proclamation of results in the ongoing elections.
The group also encouraged to continue providing regular updates on the remaining aspects of the electoral process in order to assure candidates, political parties and the public of the integrity of the process.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja on its post elections observations, the international group of observers recommended that election stakeholders should organize an after-action review on the conduct of the 2019 elections to distill lessons learned in view of improving elections with integrity in the country.
In a statement read to the newsmen, Co-chair of WANEP, Hajia Aisha Ado Abdullahi, said the federal government and other relevant stakeholders should take note of identified conflict flashpoints in order to take proactive measures to prevent future election violence.
“Data generated from the WANEP National Early Warning System (NEWS) prior to the elections identified 51 incidents of election related threats in which there were 113 fatalities and 141 injuries. Several potential hotspots were also identified including in Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Kogi, Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Zamfara and Yobe states.
“Adequate measures need to be put in place to guard against the disenfranchisement of Nigerians based on religion and/or ethnic profiling.
“The Security agencies should be deployed especially in flashpoints to prevent the eruption of violence after proclamation of results.
“There is need to strengthen the institutional capacity of National and State Agencies (e.g. INEC, Security Agencies, Judiciary, etc.) in charge of administering election affairs.
“High-level preventive diplomacy should be conducted with the candidates to maintain peace during and after the counting, collation and proclamation of results.
“Without prejudice to the right to use peaceful and legal means to address election disputes, candidates, political party supporters and Nigerians in general are encouraged to remain civil, keep faith with the rest of the electoral process, and accept the outcome of the results.
“Political parties and supporters should celebrate electoral victory in moderation taking into account sentiments associated with elections.”
According to Aisha Abdullahi, WANEP urged all stakeholders to desist from announcing unauthenticated results on social media and other platforms.
“WANEP noted that generally the elections were well conducted across the country in spite of late opening of polls in several centers due to the late arrival of officials and materials and the malfunction of card readers. The electorate were observed in many polling stations to have conducted themselves in an orderly manner although some security challenges were reported as well as attempts to influence voters through vote buying. Technical issues were experienced with the use of card readers in some locations.”