The Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, an NGO, has called on Nigerians to shun electoral violence during the upcoming General Elections.
The Global Director of the group, Mr Olasupo Abideen, made the call at the unveiling of the election violence incidence tracker dashboard, launching of issue brief, factsheet and research in Osogbo on Wednesday.
The unveiling was tagged “Election violence landscape in Nigeria: A critical intelligence analysis from 1999 to 2022”.
Abideen said that election violence remained a major problem to the country’s political stability, wellbeing of the citizens and should be avoided.
He said that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, had a long history of election-related violence, with incidents ranging from minor scuffles to full-blown sectarian conflicts.
He said that the consequences of election violence were far-reaching and devastating.
According to him, it can lead to loss of life, damage to property, mass displacement and a breakdown in social cohesion.
He said that election violence could also undermine the legitimacy of the electoral process and discourage citizens from participating in future elections.
He listed some of the factors that fuel violence in the country to include deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions, lack of trust in the electoral process and competition for resources and political power.
Abideen further said that violence during elections was more tactical and could spark off by the absence, shortage or late arrival of voting materials, manipulation of the election results, the lack of openness in the counting of ballots after voting, amongst others.
“Electoral violence could take any form, depending on the period of occurrence during the election cycle.
“To address the problem of election violence in Nigeria, it is important for the government and other stakeholders to take a multi-faceted approach.
“The approach might include strengthening the electoral process, improving security and the rule of law, promoting dialogue and reconciliation between communities,’’ he said.
Abideen said that the NGO electoral violence incidence tracker, “evit.ng”, would help to mitigate electoral violence, not just by monitoring its incidence but preventing its occurrence.
“The platform will monitor and report in real-time, the early warning signs that could triggers off electoral violence across the country.
“We appeal to the citizens and security agencies to work with us in achieving this,’’ he said.
Abideen also said that the dashboard would enable citizens to report cases of electoral violence in real-time, identify potential risks with an incident analysis dashboard, detect early warning signs and inform relevant stakeholders.
Contributing to the discourse, some of the stakeholders at the event called for a violence-free General Elections.
They commended the NGO for working towards violence-free elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders at the event included representives of the police, NSCDC, market women and men, civil society organisations and youth council, amongst others. (NAN)