We are committed towards Peaceful Polls comes 2023- ECOWAS Rep.

We are committed towards Peaceful Polls comes 2023- ECOWAS Rep.

We are committed towards Peaceful Pols comes 2023- ECOWAS Rep

By Abdullahi Alhassan, Kaduna.

The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Ms.Giovanie Biha, said the ECOWAS is committed towards ensuring Peaceful polls in the region especially Nigerian elections come 20233.

She made this remark at a Stakeholders' Forum in Kaduna State, "As you may recall, during the 2019 general elections, the UN and the NPC had partnered with the Kaduna State Peace Commission to organize a similar event which according to many participants positively contributed to the electoral process. 

"It is an opportunity for us to amplify our commitment to peace and agree on more practical ways of addressing threats that may undermine a peaceful electoral process in Kaduna State. 

"In this regard, it is important to highlight that in collaboration with the NPC, similar events will be organized in all six geopolitical zones.

While elections are critical for democratic consolidation, they have unfortunately become flashpoints and are often associated with violence in several parts of our region due to increased competition and diverse interests involved. 

The ECOWAS Representative added, "Electoral violence continues to undermine inclusive electoral processes, especially with regards to women’s participation as well as the respect for human rights and the rule of law.

"Our presence here today is largely due to the lessons learned from the event and recommendations from key actors in the State working on the electoral process.

As a result, there is an increased demand on us to be more proactive in identifying threats to peaceful electoral processes and employ adequate solutions or mitigating measures. 

This explains why the importance of such events cannot be overemphasized.

Meanwhile, in many situations, we continue to witness how disagreements and latent conflicts between communities are instrumentalized during electoral processes which often leads to violence and ultimately to the loss of life and property. 

This explains why we must sustain our engagements in Kaduna State to promote social cohesion and enhance the role of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, especially during this electoral period. 

"I am mindful that the Kaduna State Peace Commission and other stakeholders are already engaged in this regard." I would like to pledge the continued support of the UN. 

Ms. Giovanie Biha, further explains that "it is important for us to collectively support and preach a message of peace in Kaduna State while denouncing divisive and hate speech during these elections. 

"We are called upon to leverage our respective roles to amplify voices of peace agents such as traditional, religious, and other community leaders, including women’s rights activists. 

She maintained, "It is important for us to maximize the presence of very active civil society organizations, including women and youth groups, in Kaduna State to disseminate messages promoting peaceful and inclusive elections right down to the 23 Local Government Areas in this State.

Adding that "Given that Kaduna State is unfortunately not spared by some of the challenges facing the country, it is incumbent on us to close ranks and prioritize all engagements that would promote peace, security, and development of this State before, during and after the elections.

She explains "In our engagements with Federal authorities, we have repeatedly underscored the leadership role of Nigeria in the West African region and the positive message peaceful and inclusive elections in Nigeria will send to the region and the rest of the continent.

"But we also know that peaceful elections in Nigeria start with peaceful elections in the Local Government Areas and the States. That is why our engagements and support to state-level interventions must be sustained.

"In conclusion, we are confident that stakeholders in Kaduna State will once again rise to the occasion and deliver peaceful 2023 general elections which is crucial for sustainable peace, security, and development of this State. 

This will be a good example for other states to follow and reinforces Kaduna State’s position as the Centre of Learning in this country.

"I would like to make a fervent appeal for every stakeholder to support the efforts of INEC and other relevant national institutions to ensure the elections in this State and in the country are peaceful, transparent, credible and inclusive. 

Earlier in his welcome address the Executive Vice Chairman of Kaduna State Peace Commission, Dr. Saleh Momale said the commission’s desire to have Peaceful campaigns and elections in Kaduna State is reinforced here with the presence of stakeholders at international, national, state, and local government level.

The Commission and its partners have set -up a campaign and election monitoring committee comprising representatives of Political parties, religious organizations, Media, Civil Society groups, and security agencies to provide advisory and caution to candidates and parties that engages non- peaceful actions.

"Again, arrangements are ongoing to convene a meeting of all candidates and Political parties in the state to sign a commitment to peaceful conduct scheduled for 15 December 2022.

The commission vice Chairman explain further "With support from the Ministry of internal Security and home affairs, the commission and its partners are engaging with diverse youth groups to prevent all forms of violence and disturbance of Public peace during campaigns.

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