Search for Common Ground (SEARCH), an NGO, has called on political parties and their candidates for the Nov. 16 governorship election in Kogi to base their campaigns on issues and stop attacks on personalities and ethnicity.
Mrs Lola Mamedu, Early Warning Coordinator with Search, made the call on Wednesday in Lokoja at the maiden edition of Kogi State Monthly Conflict Scan Analysis on incidences of election related violence and ways to facilitate immediate responses.
Mamedu also urged the parties to engage in positive dialogue to resolve party conflicts, instead of physical attacks.
She also advised them to refrain from making inciting and hateful comments that could spur violence.
She said this would go a long way in countering and preventing violence and as well, enhance healthy competition and improve the quality of the conversations in party campaigns and rallies.
The Early Warning Coordinator also advised the parties to engage in activities aimed at encouraging and mobilising voters to turn out en-masse and peacefully, to vote as part of their civic rights.
On security, she tasked security agencies as the ones saddled with the mandate to protect the citizens and maintain law and order in the state; to be more deliberate and professional in their approach to addressing early warning signs of electoral violence.
She also urged the security agencies to ensure timely response to distress calls and lawful arrest of miscreants in the cause of the exercise as it would ensure peace in the their approach to curb pre-election period.
Mamedu urged them to take note of potential hotspots and deploy adequate personnel and resources to prevent escalation of violence in such locations.
She, however, called tasked INEC and NOA on the need for continuous voter education, calling for sustained campaign on peaceful election in high risk areas while facilitating the signing of peace pact among the major stakeholders.
“INEC should come up with a structured mechanism and collaborate with both state and non-state actors to curtail the danger of buying and selling of Votes, PVCS and others,” she said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the analysis of the scan revealed political party and candidate violence attack; vandalism and destruction of billboards and properties, voter intimidation and threat; Inter-communal/ethnic clashes; vote buying and inducements and hate speeches, among many others.
NAN reports that the project was supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID); National Democratic Institute (NDI); SEARCH and United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKaid).
It had members of CSOs, the Army and other security agencies as well as the Media in attendance. (NAN)
-Nov 6, 2019 @18:52 GMT |