The zonal peace forum for South east held in Owerri on the 3rd of August, 2015 at the City Global hotel. We already shared some interesting pictures and report on the event. The major objective of the forum was to access how violence mitigation efforts worked and look for ways of improving on them for better results. It also presented the alternate conflict resolution initiative. I have tried below to outline some interesting contributions and recommendations from the participants and organizers during the panel sessions.
A participant said the no arms rules didn’t work out very well as many security operatives didn’t come with arms and it affected effective discharge of their duties. He recommended that the rule should have emphasized more on the electorates and other agents and not security officers.
The moderator of this session advised participants to focus more on preferring actionable solutions that will mitigate violence instead of playing the blame game.
On the issue of corruption which was identified as a major contributor to violence during the elections and recommend that electorates adopt correct rules of engagement when such practices are witnessed. Ignorance of rules and regulations guiding electoral practices can also lead to violence.
An electoral commissioner from INEC recommended that the commission should adopt the process of electronic voting to reduce the time spent to announce results and to enable Nigerians in the Diaspora vote for their candidates.
Party agents should be involved in producing certificate of certified true copy before it should be admissible in court.
The federal government should create electoral offences commission to prosecute offenders and deter others who have such intentions.
The Independent National Electoral Commission should start civic education on time. They should not wait till 2018 to start educating people on 2019 elections.
Electioneering budget by political parties should be monitored and controlled by INEC and other relevant agencies.
Media organizations should help mount pressure on the government to penalize election offender. They should support activities of civil society organizations.
Communities should take sensitization personal and not wait for INEC or government to do all the work.
A participant also made an important call for all agencies involved in the last election to release their post election reports.