The National Orientation Agency, NOA says it firmly believes that the campaign against electoral violence is gradually taking root in Nigeria’s political system.
The NOA is an institution that has a mandate to promote and provide platforms for democratic debate.
Since the preparation and conduct of the General Election, it has held several engagements with stakeholders to discuss several aspects of the process, including voter mobilisation, education, peace and conflict prevention.
The Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari said the agency would continue to promote peace and stability in the country.
He made this known in Enugu at the zonal town hall meeting on the 2023 general elections organized by Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa, PAACA held at Hotel Sunshine.
Represented by Mrs Ifeyinwa Ugwu, Enugu state Director of NOA said that for more than two months after the elections, the Agency has not witnessed any serious conflict resulting from the election.
He said; “The fact that almost all contenders have invested their hope in the courts of our land speaks loudly of the evolving culture of peace in our democratic system.
“However, it must be noted that the peace and stability that we have so far enjoyed today has nothing to do with the readiness of political actors to be patriotic, instead, it is the product of a citizen-led peace campaign which has clearly shown a preference for peace over violence.
“Our people have chosen to be civilized in their approach to democratic protests. We are indeed, a people of peace.”
“As we gather here to share the experience of our participation in the 2023 election, we must understand that what we seek to achieve is to point out the lessons of that experience. The search for power and position will always be contentious and full of aggression, intrigue and moments of excitement. What, however, distinguishes us in our current political engagements is whether our actions are well within the law and codes of decent behaviour,” Abari explained.
The NOA boss, however, said the Agency monitored elections in almost every ward in Nigeria.
He said; “The reports which we collated from our field officers called Community Orientation and Mobilisation Officers (COMOS) identified several issues. Let me mention a few;
‘‘Political parties and candidates continue to tread the old path of abusive campaign language,
“The use of social media platforms for campaigns helped to bring the messages home to the electorates and with it, a heavy dose of hate messages and fake news,
“The newly introduced technological tools reduced the incidence of ballot box snatching,
“Many Nigerians believe in the capacity of these tech tools to bring credibility and trust to the electoral system,
“Participation in the electoral process appears to be very high in the urban areas.
“Young people showed a lot of enthusiasm in participating in the election and were responsible for the near live casting of electoral procedure in most polling units.
“Electoral officers and security personnel require more commitment to duty and a new orientation.
“More collaborative work with other government agencies such as NOA and civil society organisations is required to deliver adequate voter education.
“Politicians still resort to divisive narratives to win votes and elections.”
“We cannot leave the leadership recruitment process in the hands of merchants whose sense of patriotism is still not adequate. As citizens, we must redefine our nationalism by holding those who preside over our affairs to account for their actions and inactions.
“Finally, we are hoping that the outcome of this meeting will be of great value addition to our post-election experiences,” Abari stated.
Source: Orientation Agency Vows To Promote Peace And Stability – Voice of Nigeria (von.gov.ng)
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