Since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigerian state has conducted five general elections. And in these elections, the state has recorded electoral violence with the 2011 post-election violence recording the highest number of causalities. Having experienced electoral violence with Rivers and Ekiti states having history of electoral violence, the need to mitigate electoral violence in the 2019 general elections becomes fundamental.
It is therefore within this context that the European Union (EU) through its Democratic Governance in Nigeria supports CLEEN Foundation to implement Mitigating Electoral Violence in Nigeria Towards 2019 General Elections project. This is in collaboration with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria Police Force, Centre for Citizens with Disability, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, BBC Media Action, and the Albino Foundation. The project covers the six geo-political zones-South-East, South-South, South-West, North-East, North-West, North-Central.
The EU Funded Programme “Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria” (EU-SDGN) aims to contribute to the reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through building strong, effective and legitimate democratic institutions. It will be implemented from 2017 to 2021, accompanying the 2016-2019 electoral cycle, and is anchored in the priorities of the Nigerian government and the recommendations of the European Union Election Observation Mission on the 2015 General Elections.
The programme is composed of five components, namely:
Component 1: Support to the Independent National Electoral Commission implemented by the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES).
Component 2: Support to the National Assembly implemented by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA).
Component 3: Support to Political Parties implemented by the Political Party Leadership and Policy Development Centre of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
Component 4: Support to Media implemented by the Institute for Media and Society and the International Press Centre.
Component 5: Support to Civil Society Organisations implemented by the BBC Media Action, CLEEN Foundation, Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Albino Foundation.
In the project, CLEEN Foundation will adopt pragmatic approach to identify and mitigate security threats that could lead to electoral violence in the 2019 general elections. Our focus is on threats to the pre-election, election and post-election violence. CLEEN and its partners, BBC Media Action, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Albino Foundation and Centre for Citizens with Disability will implement the project and achieve the set target through interconnected activities that enhance election security management in Nigeria.
CLEEN and its partners will assess the level of INEC and Security agencies preparedness for the 2019 general elections. Also, potential electoral risk factors and mitigation strategies will be established, CLEEN electoral violence mitigation tool, The Electoral Institute (TEI) and INEC electoral risk management tools will be harmonised. And when that happens, stakeholders’ knowledge on the new standardized Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool will be enhanced.
CLEEN will Provide INEC and security agencies with empirical data for enhancing their strategic plan for the deployment of operational resources at the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
This initiative will improve security agencies professional conduct on election duty, with a focus on the Nigeria Police that has the constitutional responsibility of providing elections security. It will also address the exclusion of persons with disability in the electoral process. The data on persons with disabilities CLEEN will provide will assist INEC in providing electoral materials logistics that will aid the participation of persons with disabilities in the election.
In addition, the citizens will have information on electoral security, and that will help them understand high risk locations. And when that happens, they will be guided properly on the Election-Day.
It will contribute to intellectual discourse in Nigeria election dynamics, scholars and researchers will easily have access to credible information on electoral violence, trends and patterns. And that will help in the empirical analysis of the Nigerian politics.
The project contributes to a violet-free election, improving the electoral landscape and election security management in particular.
Chigozirim Okoro and Anderlyn Ezeh, CLEEN Foundation