2023 General Election: INEC calls for interactive engagement with political actors
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has called on the National Peace Committee (NPC) to engage with political actors well ahead of the 2023 General Election.
The Chairman made the call when he received a delegation of representatives from the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and the Kofi Annan Foundation, led by the Head of the NPC Secretariat, Reverend Father Atta Barkindo.
Prof. Yakubu appreciated the NPC’s contributions to peaceful elections through the Peace Accords initiative introduced in 2015.
He also noted that nations are lucky when they have moral voices, whose authority does not draw from statutory provisions but exists purely as moral persuasions to which citizens listen.
“That is why I think it is a big plus for us as a nation to have a national peace committee and the calibre of people involved in it,” he said.
THE COMMISSION CALLS FOR POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT
He stated that General Abdusalam Abubakar-led Committee could help the Commission mitigate security challenges by engaging with some political actors.
“Some of those who perpetrate violence on election day are not necessarily candidates in the election, but people engaged by beneficiaries of the election,” he said, adding, “so if we can engage with the actors early enough, I hope we will turn a new leaf in that respect.”
THE NATIONAL PEACE COMMITTEE’S HISTORY
Recalling how the NPC started in 2015 and its impact on the peaceful conduct of political actors, the INEC Chairman, said, “when the Peace Committee started in 2015, it was an excellent initiative, supported by not just people in Nigeria but by people from so many countries around the world, including the late Kofi Annan himself. He was here for the signing of the Peace Accord in 2015.
“We thought we should replicate it in the 2019 general election, and we did. We then started a discussion to see if we could devolve the Peace Accord.
“Our concern was the statements on social media and traditional media, coming from the politicians, particularly on the Edo governorship election in September 2020.
“And the Peace Committee for the first time agreed to devolve,” he added.
OUTCOME OF THE EDO ELECTION
He spoke further on the positive outcome of the Commission the Committee’s role in the Edo election. “We were with them in Benin for the Edo governorship election.
“Instead of the chaos and anarchy that people expected would follow the outcome of the election, as soon as we declared the result of the election, people started dancing on the streets of Benin.
“To a large extent, I attribute that to the role played by the Peace Accord.”
INEC CHAIRMAN APPEALS AHEAD OF EKITI/OSUN ELECTION
Prof. Yakubu further implored the NPC to play its traditional role for the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections scheduled for 18th June and 16th 2022, respectively.
He said: “We will keep working with the National Peace Committee on how we can deepen this engagement and conversation. But, let’s put out the fire when we notice something smouldering before it turns into a big fire.”
NPC APPRECIATES INEC
Earlier, Bishop Kukah’s representative, Reverend Father Barkindo, appreciated the support of the Prof. Yakubu-led Commission towards cascading the Peace Accord from the national level to the states.
He noted that the support and successes endeared the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to the NPC.
He said his delegation was at the Commission to deepen the existing relationship between the NPC and INEC.
He also sought to know some of the Commission’s challenges in its plans for the 2023 general election and how the NPC could assist the Commission in monitoring social media patterns.
The team members from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Kofi Annan Foundation include Senior Political Adviser Nicolas De Torrente, Electoral Adviser Rahel Brugger, and Senior Advisor Sebastian Brack.
INEC/ E/Suzan O.