Nigeria government urged to resist temptation to abuse incumbency

WADEMOS Delegation in a group photo with Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman.

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity (WADEMOS), a network of civil society organisations, has urged the Government of Nigeria to resist the temptation to abuse incumbency in its processes leading to the election.

The Organisation said that would help avoid violence in the February 25 elections.

A statement issued after a visit by a delegation from the network to Nigeria, copied to the Ghana News Agency, urged the Government to ensure increased participation of women in politics and governance through affirmative action policies and programmes. 

The statement said the Nigerian Government must improve availability of fuel to mitigate the effect that the current shortages could have on the election.

“This has the tendency of increasing voter apathy and turnout, particularly for voters who will travel long distances to their polling stations.” 

“Again, it has implication for the movement of security personnel and patrol teams that will be deployed to provide security for the election.”

It said political leaders and parties must go about their campaigns with responsibility to ensure and guarantee the sanctity and integrity of the electoral process.

Political parties and their candidates must eschew violence and avoid all forms of incitement as tools for mobilising and canvasing for votes among their supporters, it said. 

As a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, Nigeria’s religious and traditional leaders must use their platforms to spread peaceful messages of non-violence and good conduct required for peaceful and incident-free elections, the statement said. 

“Again, we urge them to support local interventions aimed at resolving potential violence to reduce and calm tension.”

It appealed to CSOs to cooperate among themselves and with state institutions to champion participation and inclusion during the elections, while campaigning for a free, transparent and peaceful process. 

It called on the media to be on high alert about disinformation and misinformation, particularly on the day of election, and be apolitical, taking into consideration the sensitivities surrounding the election when reporting. 

It said political parties should adhere to the peace accord and its commitments before, during and after the election, adding that the media should popularise and demand accountability in the implementation of the peace accord.

The delegation comprised selected members of the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network and was jointly led by Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, the Director, Advocacy and Policy Engagement, CDD-Ghana and Head of Secretariat, West Africa Election Observation Network (WAEON) and Bernadette French, Regional Coordinator, National Election Watch, Sierra Leone.

Other members included Kop’ep Dabugat, the Network Coordinator for WADEMOS; Ibar Sarr, Director General of Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme Senegal; Dr Bridget Osakwe, National Coordinator, WANEP-Nigeria, and Mawusi Yaw Dumenu, the Coordinator, WAEON.

The rest are Matthias Yeanay, the Executive Director, Institute for Research and Democratic Development, and the General Secretary of the Institute, Aissata Bocoum from Mali. 

The WADEMOS Network is a non-partisan, independent civil society-led transnational democracy solidarity network, consisting of 35 civil society organisations located in 15 countries in West Africa.

It aims to mobilise, coordinate, and leverage the collective power of civil society and other pro-democracy actors, resources, and opportunities within the West African Region to advance, defend, and reinvigorate democracy and promote its norms.

Source: GNA

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