Sunday 22 January 2023


The first 'High-Level National Dialogue on Electoral Violence Mitigation' was held by Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), on the 19th of January 2023 at Abuja Continental Hotel (Former Sheraton Hotel). The parley was to support non-violent electoral processes during the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria. I was a valued stakeholder at the event, where the 'Election Data Dashboard' was launched. The discussion was around the state of electoral violence and the future of Nigeria's elections.

Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the lobby of the hotel just before the commencement of the dialogue

In my intervention, I pointed out that 'prebendalism' (money politics) is the bane of politics in Nigeria. When an individual spends billions of Naira to 'secure' the ticket of a Political Party to run for a particular post, if/when he/she is eventually 'elected' into office, the first assignment would be to 'recoup' what was spent! Hence the wheel of corruption keeps turning. I also talked about the below par space for for the female gender to participate in politics. The 'feminisation' of poverty is a major drawback for women.

Some of the participants at the discourse are:

*Santiago Stalker - Country Director, International Republican Institute (IRI)

*Dr. Ayibakuro Matthew - Governance Adviser, FCDO

*Usman Alkali Baba (Represented) - Inspector General of Police

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Gender Specialist & Former Director, Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Abuja

*Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya - Board Member, KDI/Panelist

*Ms. Ene Ede - Board Member, KDI/Gender Activist

*Ms. Ndi Kato - Spokesperson for the Labour Party PCC/Panelist

*Mrs. Lynda Bala - First Vice President, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA)/Panelist

Other documents published by KDI and disseminated at the dialogue were:

*'Know The Figures' - Analysis of candidates & political parties in Nigeria's upcoming 2023 general elections

*Advance: Women's Political Participation in Nigeria

*Understanding Voters: Dynamics behind voters' behaviour & experience

The comments made by the speakers can be distilled into the following points:

*More technology should be deployed in the electoral process, so that citizens would no longer need to gather at polling stations on election day. We should eventually reach the stage when we can conveniently vote from our bedrooms. This may take some time because of the level of illiteracy, poverty and internet penetration of the rural and semi-urban areas. But there was optimism that we'll get there some day...

*Threat analysis by the Armed Forces is constantly going on in Nigeria. This needs to be stepped up towards the elections.

*There should be stricter penalties for electoral malfeasance and related crimes. Impunity must stop!

*There should be specialised media reportage of elections and indeed the electoral process.

*Cyber-policing of comments and behaviour that relate to the electoral process should be stepped up.

It is expected that the dialogue would be:

*Disseminated to relevant stakeholders - Government, the organised private sector, CBOs, CSOs, etc.

*Credible inputs into subsequent reform the electoral law and policies.

*Support electoral planning.

*Increase public awareness of electoral violence and accountability for same.

*Advocate non-violence in elections.

*Solicit stakeholders' commitment to non-violence in elections.

*Disseminate KDI's long term electoral violence data & Election Security Risks Assessment & Violence Hotspot Report.

The beauty of this parley is that quantitative analysis informed the discourse. An example is that in May 2022, the level of violence Nigeria was highest. Why was that? The Party Primaries were held then, and the level of desperation by candidates and their supporters to secure Party tickets resulted in monumental violence.

Kudos to Bukola Idowu (Executive Director, KDI), Sarah Tama (Programme Manager Elections, KDI) and the rest of the formidable team for a successful outing... 



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