Peace accord, foreign observers: What relevance?
Sir: Each time elections are to be conducted in Nigeria, the major contestants are brought together to sign what is called Peace Accord. According to its terms, the Accord is supposed to prevail on all those in the race to eschew violence in any form, to play a fair game and also to accept the outcome of the results as declared by the umpire in good faith.
However, it’s doubtful if the so-called Peace Accord has ever achieved anything tangible and it’s appearing as just a normal routine observed to fulfill all righteousness. Because if it were to be truly effective, its impacts should be felt through a peaceful conduct of elections devoid of intimidation of the electorates or manipulation of the election results.
But has this always been the case? The answer is Capital No. So what in essence is the relevance of the Peace Accord? Is it not a sheer waste of time? If it is to make any remarkable impact it should include disqualification for any of the candidates whose members are found to breach the terms of the Accord by engaging in conducts capable of frustrating or intimidating the electorates.
It must also include setting a time limit for each polling unit to upload the results so that fears of any form of manipulation will be eliminated. All these have not happened in the current situation as some polling units were said to have deliberately refused to upload the results thereby giving room to fears of manipulation.
Again, there were reports of disruption of the process at some of the polling units by hooligans and thugs working for some of the parties. All these incidents cast a serious doubt on our seriousness as a people to carry through a process in a most transparent manner. Another surprising aspect is the refusal of those termed as election observers to speak up on any anomaly observed during the conduct of the polls.
If with all those so-called observers, things can go awry during elections and the only thing they do is to keep sealed lips, perhaps in order not to be seen as heating up the process, or dabbling into issues which are better left in the hands of the citizens to handle, what then is the essence of mere figurehead foreign observers?
Jide Oyewusi, coordinator, Ethics Watch International, Lagos.