Sunday 7 October 2018


The Peace & Security Network (PSN), a network of over 550 members across the geo-political zones in Nigeria, held a meeting (in collaboration with the Fund for Peace - FFP) under its 'Confab Series' on the 27th of September, 2018 in Abuja. I am a valuable member of PSN. The high point of the meeting was the presentation of a research report by the FFP on 'Preventing Election Violence (PEV) in Nigeria'. Patricia Taft of FFP presented the report.

The following are some of the highlights:

*Election Violence (EV) does not occur in a vacuum. It always has a political, economic and social context.
*A three-pronged approach was adopted for the research:
-Collation of historical data
-Quantitative analysis
-Qualitative analysis
*There are 3 main contextual issues in 100 years of political and election violence in Nigeria:
-Sectarian polarisation/Colonialism
-Crisis of legitimacy
-Cycles of economic distress & rising rates of inequality
*Hot spots (2009-2015). The findings are:
-Hot spots tend to change from one election cycle to the other.
-Local level contests, especially Governorship elections are more violent than national level elections.
-Types of violence over a 6 year period: Orchestrated vs Spontaneous violence. PIND Security Maps/Location of insecurity actors/Social Network Analysis were utilised.

There are 3 types of organisations in Nigeria during EV:

*Communicators e.g. 'Get your PVC'.
*EV Prevention e.g. Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa's Non-Violence in Elections Advocacy Group (NViEAG). See for example:
*Conveners e.g.Conveners have viable platforms that could bring actors together. Conveners have trusted 'safe spaces' e.g. PSN, PIND, Mercy Corps, Abdulsalami Abubakar Peace Committee, etc. See for example:

The following were the recommendations for PEV:

1) Start earlier and stick around longer. EW and ER matter!
2) Make better use of reliable data.
3) More focus should be on Gubernatorial and Local level elections than on Presidential elections.
4) More attention should be paid to Conveners.

Chris Kwaja then gave a Risk Assessment of EV, looking at the peace and security landscape towards the 2019 elections. The focus was on Adamawa, Ekiti, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos & the FCT. The following are the findings:

1) The narrative of insecurity is changing with the intensity of the Farmer-Herder crisis, the Niger Delta, insurgency, etc.
2) Disappointment associated with state-citizen relationship.
3) Increase in the level of civic consciousness vis-a-vis INEC. The Electoral body should constantly demonstrate capacity to conduct credible elections.
4) Intra-Party conflict now deeper than Inter-Party conflict!
5) Diminished north-south divide.
6) Growing significance of social media. To what end - positive or negative?
7) Growing prominence of Local Government elections. Many of the grievances at the local level transform to the national level! SIECs are far from independent.

The following are the recommendations:

1) Re-think creating Election Offenses Commission (EOS).
2) There should be early recruitment and training of INEC ad hoc staff.
3) Improve election security administration. There should be an inter-agency consultative forum on election issues convened by INEC.
4) Internal Party Democracy is important in Political Parties.
5) Hate speech is not equivalent to free speech. However, human rights should not be curtailed under the guise of eliminating hate speech

With this and similar discourse on methods of PEV towards the 2019 elections, we hope for peace...

Related Links

*The quest for credible LG elections in Nigeria

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