The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) on Tuesday named six states prone to violence ahead of this year’s general elections.
The states are Oyo, Imo, Rivers, Kaduna, Benue and Borno states.
The CISLAC said violence usually occured in those states during elections, saying that was why the organization was spreading its peace building initiative to stem and reverse the ugly trend in this year’s elections.
The Executive Director of the CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), made these remarks while addressing journalists at the end of the stakeholders meeting and press conference held at the Kakanfo inn, Ibadan, Oyo State.
His statement was read by Mr. Okeke Anya – Manager, Democratic Governance of CISLAC alongside Lovelyn Agbor-Gabriel, Manager, Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning (MEAL) CISLAC and other stakeholders.
Tagged ‘Media briefing on peaceful 2023 General Election in Oyo State,’ Rafsanjani said CISLAC joined CSOs and the people of Oyo State to commend the leadership of the 15 out of 18 political parties in Oyo state who demonstrated commitment towards a non-violent 2023 elections in the state by signing the peace accord in late 2022.
According to him, “CISLAC also commends the Oyo state Peace Committee for championing the process, and the Nigeria Police Force, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and traditional/religious leaders for the collaborative efforts in the process.
“CISLAC considers the act thoughtful, proactive, exemplary, and worthy of emulation by other South-West states as well as at the federation at large.”
Rafsanjani said the peace initiative had become imperative, most especially with the report of violence happening in the buildup to the 2023 general elections across the state and country at large.
He said, “Some of the key reasons for the peace pact include the need to build consensus among electoral stakeholders in the state as well as bestowing confidence among electorates. It is imperative to emphasize this important achievement in the state.
“It cannot be overstated that the commitment of political parties and their frontline candidates under the Peace Accord will bind them to shunning hate speech, peddling of fake news, political thuggery and other acts that unnecessarily heat up the polity and stoke up electoral violence but will help them to focus on issue-based campaigns.
“Ultimately, the Peace Accord is expected to bind stakeholders to bear on their supporters and party agents the need to maintain peace throughout the election period and beyond.
“To achieve the objectives of the peace pact in the state, stakeholders must abide by their commitments under the agreements. Political actions must continue to be in line with the spirit of the agreements. And other observatory stakeholders such as the civil society and the media must also play their role to ensure compliance to the provisions of the peace agreements.
“The need to continually remind stakeholders of their commitments under the pacts remains crucial. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and its partners in Oyo State are playing that role today. CISLAC is simply reminding the political parties and candidates on their commitments as the political parties gradually approach the general election to dissuade not just themselves, but their supporters and influencers to desist from stoking up electoral violence and conflicts in the state.”
Despite the signing of the peace accord, Oyo State has witnessed issue of violence in Campaigns and Rally (most recently in Igangan and Oyo township); threats, harassment, and intimidation when on Campaign train; destruction of posters and the likes.
“CISLAC, therefore, is urging security agencies to ensure that they tackle voter and public intimidation of any sort, and the electoral umpire, INEC, to make concerted efforts to do the right things at the right time to avoid instances that can raise tensions during this sensitive period of elections. Relationships with security agencies as well as other peace structures in the state must be strengthened to allow for Early Warning and Early Response mechanisms to be effective.
“We appreciate relevant stakeholders contributing to peaceful elections, and security agencies for their reassurance to all eligible voters that environments are safe for them to exercise their civic rights to vote. Our desire is to see a peaceful conclusion of the 2023 elections in Oyo State,” he added.