BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have called for the Institutionalisation of the Peace Accord signing in electoral process.
The CSOs made the call during a public presentation of the Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR) findings of the 2020 Edo and Ondo States governorship election by Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI) in partnership with IFES.
Speaking at the event, executive director of Kimpact Development Initiative, Bukola Idowu, said the Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR) project, supported by International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) aims at developing the capacity of civil society organisations to monitor, analyse and respond to incidents of election related conflict before, during and after elections in the country.
While analysing the election violence report, Idowu stated that: “a contributory factor to the relative peace enjoyed on the Edo election day, 19th September, 2020 are the peace initiatives and civic education carried out by government agencies, respected public figures, KDI/NEVR team and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
“The intervention of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, the Stakeholders’ Forum, organized by INEC in collaboration with KDI/NEVR and other CSOs and the Peace Accord Signing coordinated by the National Peace Committee with the support of the KDI/NEVR project and other CSOs stood out.”
In order to determine how much the Peace Initiatives of stakeholders, such as the interventions of the Oba of Benin, National Peace Committee and initiatives of other stakeholders impacted the political atmosphere of the 2020 governorship election-day in Edo State, kimpact conducted a survey consisting of 326 random sampling respondents.
“Asking the respondents if they thought the signing of the Peace accord by the governorship candidates had any effect on the Peaceful outcome of the election in Edo State, 71 per cent of the respondents agreed that the peace accord signing had tremendous impact on the outcome of the 2020 governorship elections in the State. 22 per cent of the respondents were in somewhat agreement, while 7 per cent disagreed totally.”
“Also, 77 per cent of the respondents agreed that the candidates abided by the peace pact they signed, while 99 per cent agreed that the peace accord signing should be sustained in future elections,” she explained.
Meanwhile, in Ondo State, where about 11 political parties and candidates signed the Peace Accord, KDI interacted with 486 respondents in 18 LGAs through random sampling. 79 percent of the respondents believed that the Peace Accord signing had impact on the election, while only 6 percent had the impression of no impact.
Speaking further, Idowu called for the establishment of an electoral court for electoral offenders.
According to her, “For instance, in 2019, over 1500 electoral offender were arrested during the general elections, but as it stands, nobody has been prosecuted. The police and INEC are not sure of who handled the cases.
“I think there is need for a legislative clearance on who should prosecute and who should investigate, so that offenders can be prosecuted and we can have peaceful elections.”
On his part, Head of Secretariat, National Peace Commission (NPC), Fr Atta Barkindo, said that: “We’ve not had any case of non compliance with the Peace Accord signing, but there is need for that legal aspect to be injected and structures of accountability put in place, just in case of non compliance.”