Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), in collaboration with the African Union (AU), West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), has launched the 2019 Election Violence Monitoring, Analysis and Mitigation (EMAM) Project.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, speaking at the launch on Tuesday in Abuja noted that the project was a timely effort in achieving a peaceful 2019 election
Yakubu who was represented by INEC’s National Commissioner, Dr. Mohammed Leki, explained that the project will involve intelligence gathering process to mitigate election violence and take proactive actions “before things get out of hand”.
WANEP Executive Director, Chukwuemeka Eze, also speaking at the launch explained that the four-month long project will involve a real time monitoring, analysis and communication of several risks with periodic debriefing of key stakeholders.
Under the project, Eze said the monitors at the community, state and zonal levels will report threats, and incidents of electoral disputes and violence throughout the electioneering process to the National Election Analysis and Response Center.
“The center will provide timely analysed information to critical stakeholders including the national peace actors, security agents, electoral commission and other key institutions of the state, ECOWAS, AU and development partners for rapid response,” he said.
Eze however lamented that Nigeria had failed expectations of international community to lead the African Continent into electoral decorum and civility with recurring allegations of partisan security forces, partiality of the judiciary and lack of independence of the electoral commission, among others.
According to him: “Politicians are now comfortably pursuing their agenda along ethnic and religious lines than ideological lines. This threatens democracy, national cohesion and development.”
He therefore urged Nigerians to go beyond party and parochial interest in the forthcoming elections to enable the nation meet the expectations of providing leadership for the African continent.
Also speaking, the Head, Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division of the AU, Amb. Fred Ngoga, said the AU would as part of its activities to observe the 2019 elections deploy a pre-electoral assessment mission in the coming weeks to consider the state of preparedness for the elections by all stakeholders and examine the political context within which the election will take place.
Ngoga who was represented by the Early Warning Officer, Peace and Security Department of AU, Ms. Mfrekeobong Ukpana, further explained that the outcome of the assessment would inform the deployment of long and short term observers.
He further expressed optimism that the launch of the project will lay and sustain the foundation of its engagements.
To this end, he urged all stakeholders to refrain from all acts of violence and use only legal and peaceful channels to address any disputes that my arise before, during and after elections.
He also reaffirmed the AU’s commitment and support to the Nigerian government and her citizens in ensuring the successful conduct of the 2019 general elections.