Ahead of the Edo Gubernatorial Election, the Yiaga Africa has expressed fear that the spate of violence and insecurity in the pre election period in Edo State may discourage voters from turning up to vote on Election day.
The member board of Yiaga Africa, Ezenwa Nwagwu made this known during the Yiaga Africa first Pre election press conference held in Abuja.
He said Yiaga Africa has deployed its twenty four (24) long term observers through out Edo State to observe and gather information on pre-election environment and to monitor goverment responses to COVID-19 in each of the eighteen local governments of the state and through its findings indicated that while INEC released a list of candidates for fourteen political parties contesting in the September 19 Election, the two dominants political parties, APC and PDP competition has been reduced to personalities as opposed to issue based campaigns.
According to him, “Verbal attacks, Identity based violence, fake news mongering and hate speech rhetoric have been employed as campaign strategies by both parties.
“Cult groups as political merchants for the election in some LGAs while INEC activities for the election have commenced in earnest in some LGAs.
It further observed that sexual and gender based violence in some of the LGAs in the state is at alarming rate.
Yiaga Africa noted that the two dominant political parties in the race are the main cause of all these adding that PDP for instance, at a rally in Alana community in Etsako West LGA, clashed with APC supporters which led to violent attacks and vandalism.
He further stated that thirteen out of eighteen local government are considered as potential hotspots and flashpoints of violence.
In his recommendations, the chief executive director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo submitted that INEC should sue for curtailment of proliferation and use of firearms and other weapons and ensure appropriate sanctions for those implicated in thuggery and violence.
”The political parties and candidates should conduct issue based campaigns rather than engage in voter inducement and recruitment of thugs and cultists for violence.
”INEC should collaborate with other stakeholders like the national peace committee, traditional/ religious institutions, security agencies, media and CSOs to de-escalate the rising political tension and violence by signing peace accord.
Similarly, the Nollywood Star and Ambassador for women’s empowerment in Nigeria Actress Ini Edo has said that she is so concerned about the challenges encountered by women participation in democracy and electoral process.
She elicited the support of citizens throughout Nigeria to join the cause for the increased participation of women in electoral and democratic processes.
“I’m sorry to say that number of women in elected office is worse than the world average.
“Women serve only one elected seat out of ten in our country, in recent years the number has been declining,” she added.