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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

ECOWAS on 2023 elections: Nigeria must conduct peaceful exercise - ITREALMS

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has warned that Nigeria cannot afford not to conduct peaceful and credible elections in 2023 as a lot is at stake even within the sub-region should the country fail.
This is even as the Independent National Electoral Commission, hailed the Commission over its dialogue with leaders of political parties towards peaceful 2023 general elections, describing it as very commendable.

The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah, who was represented by ECOWAS Commission Programme Officer on Mediation, Directorate of Political Affairs, Dr. Brown Odigie, stated this on Tuesday at the ongoing Dialogue and Mediation Training for political actors as Tools for Preventing and/or Mitigating Election Related Disputes and Violence”, in Jos, Plateau State.

The 4-day training and interactive workshop, which is the third in the series is geared towards violent-free 2023 general elections in Nigeria with the enhancement of participants’ dialogue and mediation tools and platforms for addressing contentious issues, thus contributing to the prevention and mitigation of election-related conflicts and violence before, during, and after the polls. It had participants from the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) cutting across the North-Central and North-East geopolitical zones of the country.

Musa advised that Nigeria must create space for inclusiveness in the electoral processes and ensure a peaceful election because of its very strategic position in the region. He noted that Nigeria’s enormous population is working tirelessly to ensure that the electoral processes are done peacefully to avoid anything that can lead to conflict, warning that the region cannot contain potential refugees

According to the Commission, the interactive engagements by political actors and stakeholders are critical in electoral processes and the ECOWAS commission prioritizes creating opportunities for such interactions to be held as well as equipping stakeholders with the necessary skills and competence for dialogue and mediation.

To this end, he called on all candidates and political parties, including IPAC to always uphold the contents of the signed peace Accord and the electoral guidelines which are imperative to ensuring a peaceful and credible general election.

He said: "With the hope of ensuring that all stakeholders play their role, including the police and INEC in ensuring a peaceful, free, fair, and credible election that will be acceptable to all Nigerians. Creating space for dialogue and inclusivity in the electoral process is key; because once you deny that inclusivity factor; it creates an opportunity for people to resort to violence. Grievances can be brought out and collectively, we look at the contentious issues and find common ground. We are doing it specifically for Nigeria because Nigeria is strategic in ECOWAS," he said.

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