Security and election management experts have advised authorities in the country to work towards stemming the perennial election crises and proffered workable solutions toward addressing the phenomenon before the next general election in 2027.
At the maiden National Peace-building Conference 2023, organised by the Institute for Crisis Resolution, Peace-building and Conciliation (ICRPC), a retired army general and a former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), urged the president as well as other political actors in the country to invite, encourage and accept open political processes, which are central to democracy and governance.
This is just as the conference, which took place at the headquarters of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja, presented the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, alongside 11 others the Peace Ambassador awards.
While presenting his speech as the Guest Speaker at the event, organised in collaboration with NOUN, retired Major General Lawrence Onoja, recalled how Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east posed serious security challenge to the 2015 general election in the country.
Onoja said the 2023 general election had equally witnessed similar challenges, as the socio-political environment in the country ahead of the election was characterised by mistrust and agitations in certain quarters.
The civil war veteran emphasised on the freedom of choice as a central aspect towards the realisation of citizens’ constitutional rights, which, according to him, can only be made possible when relevant state institutions are made to function effectively.
He urged the judiciary to dispense and resolve issues surrounding the 2023 polls, even as the retired general enjoined president Bola Ahmed Tinubu “to sustain the good works he has started and also introduce palliatives to cushion the hardship in the country.”
Another Guest Speaker, and former REC, Benue State, Prof. Nentawe Goshwe Yilwatda gave a detailed explanation about conducting elections in Benue state and the attendant crises, citing how he managed to curb the 2015 general election challenges in the 2023 polls.
Yilwatda, however, called on relevant authorities to take drastic measures of deepening technology utilisation, establishment of election offense commission as well as the development and institutionalisation of legally-backed Alternative Dispute Resolution in an effort to ensure safer conduct of the subsequent polls across states of the country.
Kwankwaso received the award through his running mate in the 2023 general election, Rev. Idahosa, while other awardees that include the NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olufemi Peters, the DVC, Prof. Uduma Oji Uduma, Dr. Iroye Samuel Opayemi, Maj. General Onoja (rtd), Prof. Andrew Zamani and six others were conferred with the Peace Ambassador award.
NOUN Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Uduma Oji Uduma, represented by the Head of Department, Dr. Iroye Samuel Opayemi presented the Lead Paper, as goodwill messages from the Vice-Chancellors of the Federal University, Lokoja and Veritas University, Abuja, were offered.
The Chairman, Central Planning Committee of the conference, Dr. Emmanuel Jah, on his part, expressed appreciation to NOUN for the university’s collaboration to hold the conference, while the Registrar-General of ICRPC, Dr. Abdulwaheed Odewale, in his vote of thanks, said the conference was a success as diverse voices that transcend any barriers converged to dissect and proffer solutions to the security issues of the country.