By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The United Nations (UN) has predicted that the 2019 general election in Nigeria will largely be free of violence.  

The Head of UN Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambers, stated this in an interview monitored in Channels Television at the weekend.

He said: “Let us not forget that so far there have been some significantly successful elections in this country by the current INEC  leadership – gubernatorial elections, senatorial elections, and other by-elections.

“So there have been opportunity for INEC to test itself and so far, as we can all attest to, those elections have been credible and peaceful. This is highly commendable.

“It should be acknowledged that 2015 elections were largely violence-free. There are indications that we will see an improvement upon it in 2019.”

Chambers however disclosed that the United Nations would soon revive the National Peace Committee made up of clerics and other leaders of thoughts, that played a great role in dousing tension in the 2015 election.

Chambers, who also doubles as the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, commended the current leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by Prof.  Mahmood Yakubu, for its diligence in running the affairs of the commission.

“I can assure you that, from what we have seen so far, we are very, very, confident that Prof Yakubu and his team are on track. 

“You do have in Nigeria, an election body that has a good capacity. It was demonstrated in 2015 to the admiration of all of us. So we are confident that in 2019, the current INEC leadership will deliver better results than we saw in 2015 and consolidate on its gains,” Chambers said.

He, however, called for the formulation of appropriate laws that will back the use of relevant technologies in the election to checkmate fraud and unnecessary litigation, adding that Nigeria should learn from the recent experience in Kenya’s presidential election.

 “We need to see for instance legislation backing all the processes, particularly with regard to the adoption of technology. We all witnessed what happened in Kenya where, unfortunately, the first round of voting was cancelled,” he said. 

“We must learn lessons from each other. Obviously all the processes need to be backed by appropriate legislations. Indeed adoption of technology in the last INEC leadership proved very effective and useful. It’s a big country dealing with big number. We hope there will be efforts in that direction.

“The needs assessment that will be fielded by the UN will identify those areas. We are working very closely with INEC and INEC is very open to this kind of collaboration. This is appreciated and it’s very encouraging,” he added.