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‘Politicians paying lip service to non-violence agreement’

The Conflict Research Network (CORN) West Africa, has stated that electoral violence might occur during the 2023 elections with politicians paying lip service to an…

The Conflict Research Network (CORN) West Africa, has stated that electoral violence might occur during the 2023 elections with politicians paying lip service to an agreement on non-violence.

Speaking in a webinar, tagged ‘Conducting Elections in context of Political Violence and State Fragility’, Technical Lead, Managing Conflicts in Nigeria (MCN) Prof. Ukoha Ukiwo, said the recent pre-election violence in Kaduna and Burno State indicated that politicians do not have the power to control violent reactions by their supporters.

He added that the nature of Nigerian politics makes elections a winner takes all and loser loses all scenario which makes candidates mobilize different groups to win at all costs.

He said this intensifies the tendency for electoral violence to occur. “For instance two of the major presidential candidates sees the 2023 election as their last chance to rule Nigeria so the stakes are very high for them.

“For this reason, both candidates may mobilize every means including violence to win at all costs.

“On the other hand, for Peter Obi, the 2023 elections are construed as the turn of his ethnicity to win the seat of presidency. So, they may employ every means to win at all cost.”

An expert on civil society roles in elections, Dr Timipre Alysum, said the Electoral Act of 2022 has helped in removing the unbridled electoral rascalities of political parties and candidates by blocking most of the loopholes they exploit in perpetuating electoral malpractices that aid electoral violence.

On his part, Co-founder of CORN, Dr Tarila Marclint Ebiede, said the colloquium series provides an opportunity for scholars to contribute to improving the quality of elections in Nigeria, especially in communities where there are ongoing violent conflicts in the country.

He said for the last decade, Nigerian scholars have been conducting extensive research on issues of armed conflicts and political violence, yet there have been few attempts to communicate this research to the policy community in Nigeria.

“At CORN West Africa, we see the 2023 elections as an opportunity for scholars to use their research to improve on the electoral process, especially in the area of political violence and insecurity.”