In order to increase citizen participation in mitigating and monitoring electoral violence, relevant stakeholders working on having a peaceful election, on Friday, 15th February, 2019 had an interactive Town Hall meeting on Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR). The Town Hall meeting organized by Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI) was held at Presken Hotel, Ikeja Lagos State.
In his welcome speech, the Executive Director of Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI) Bukola Idown, noted that the Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR) project is led by the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) which focuses on developing the capacity of civil society to monitor, analyze and respond to incidents of election-related conflict before, during and after elections in Nigeria. It equally promotes collaboration and dialogue between election stakeholders in order to mitigate or prevent election violence.
Delivering his address at the event, the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos Directorate, Mr. Waheed Ishola while commending KDI for the ingenuity in organizing the programme noted that Elections, as key pillar of democracy, are the legitimately accepted process by which representatives of the people in government are chosen. So for the forthcoming 2019 General Election, he shared his thoughts on the need and how to achieve a peaceful election via three perspectives:
- Electoral Body and security Agencies
- Political Class and
- The People.
On Electoral body and Security Agencies, he urged them to imbibe the professional ethics of integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism etc in their duty as to gain the confidence of the people for peaceful conduct of elections and maintenance of law and order at the polling unit.
Members of the Political class more often than not are guilty of inciting violence during elections, he cautioned them to see politics as a call to serve the people and not to encourage political thuggery, ballot box snatching and other electoral malpractices but to continually educate their followers to shun violence, avoid hate speeches and fake news that could incite violence during campaigns and election.
He called on the people to be responsible individuals who are to go to the polling units with their PVCs and cast their votes in an orderly and peaceful manner. Parents he noted should educate their children/wards not to be used by politicians for evil acts, just as under aged children are to be discouraged from going to the polling units. As stakeholders in the forthcoming general elections, he urged the people to do everything possible to make the elections peaceful, credible, free and fair.
In attendance were members of the Nigeria Police, Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade; Cross session of Youth Bodies amongst others.