Experts task INEC on early arrival of election materials
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has been tasked to work towards early arrival of polling officials and materials.
They strongly link late arrival to violence and urged INEC to do everything to ensure effective logistics at the election.
One of the experts who spoke at the training programme on early warning signs and conflict resolution tagged, Speak Up Stand Out (SUSO) Project, Tama Yari, warned that late commencement of poll due to a delay in arrival of election materials had been a major cause of violence in previous elections.
The training was funded by Civil Society Organization called Voice and supported by Centre for Youth Advocacy and Development (CEYAD) and Afrika Youth Movement at the weekend in Abuja.
SUSO programme is an initiative aimed to empowering young people with information and grassroots mobilization skills to participate meaningfully in socio-political development to amplify youth voices and influence polices.
Yari, who spoke on conflict prevention, resolution strategies and peace building during the training, stressed the need for INEC to train election officials on human relations and conflict management skills as the election draws closer.
Yari said: “Historically, in the past elections, we always have between eight to nine different kinds of violence and those violence always occur at places where candidates contesting in that election vote.
“So what needs to be done this time is that there should be enough security at areas where the candidates are voting.
“In the last two elections, some of the issues that causes conflict was the late arrival of election materials. So, there is need to arrive early enough for people to exercise their franchise.
“Also, in previous elections, some of the causes of violence is the defence put down by the election body when they arrive late. Sometimes when they arrive late to the polling units, voters begin to agitate and they, election officials begin to give excuses. So I think INEC need to put all the logistics in place as early as possible”.
Speaking on early warning signs of violence ahead of the poll, Yari described the rising cases of social media bullying between supporters of major candidates as a time bomb which could cause damages to the electoral process if left unchecked.
“There are a lot of social media bullying going on between different classes and supporters and If care is not taken, may transcend to physical violence.
“So if there are ways government can emphasize and check on social media bullying and attack, I think we’ll be able to control the rate of violence that may occur in next general elections”
A socio-political activist and a promoter of the SUSO project, Barr. Mary Audu, stressed the need for Nigerians to identify some early signs of conflicts in order to prevent them from escalating.
She advised youths to put national interest first while casting their votes in 2023.
Speaking on how the nation can avoid violence during the poll, Audu said: “As election is fast approaching my advice to the youth out there as they prepare for the election is that they should focus on just voting. They shouldn’t focus on who another person voted for. You should only Focus on yourself and who you’re voting for.
“And they should also put national interest first and that will guide us into conducting a peaceful election.”