INEC blames politics of 'do-or-die' for election violence
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Monday said that the politics of 'do-or-die', politics of hate and inflammatory comments as well as absence of internal democracy in the political parties were the chief causes of post election violence in Nigeria.
The INEC chairman, who called on security agencies in the country to enforce the various electoral laws, said the commission was making efforts aimed at curbing further electoral violence.
Also, Jega has called on all stakeholders in the electoral process to play its role diligently, robustly and accordingly to the rules of the game.
Speaking while presenting a paper titled: 'Curbing the rate of pre-and post-election violence in Nigeria', at the unveiling ceremony of the Youth Against Election Violence, organised by Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) in Abuja, condemned the ease recourse these vices by politicians.
He said, 'The 'do-or-die' attitude of politicians to politics, thuggery in politics and the use of thugs to achieve political victory, inflammatory and hate speeches issued by politicians, unwillingness to accept election outcomes, heavy monetisation of the electoral process by politicians and the attempts to compromise election officials.
said. The INEC chairman also stated that: 'Over the years, our elections have been dogged by violence cutting across the entire country. The violence that attended 2011 elections is still fresh in our minds.'
The chairman, who was represented by a National Commissioner, Nne Gladys Nwafor, would rather that Nigerians see politics as a game where there must be a winner, with the losers taking it in good faith.
To him, the main causes of election violence in the country, include, 'ignorance and low civic education, lack of internal democracy in political parties such as failure of political parties to respect their constitution.”
'To ameliorate violence, he said, 'the commission, has introduced transparent measures in order to elicit the trust and support of stakeholders. It has increased its enlightenment with stakeholders such as the media, civil society organisations, politicians and political parties.'
He reaffirmed the role of the commission and its members of staff for a free and fair election.
According to him, it is important to remain transparent in all engagements and strive to resolve tensions, suspicion and speculations which could lead to election violence.
Jega called on politicians and stakeholders to obey the Electoral Act 2010, especially sections 95 and 96(1) (as amended), which provide guidelines on how the political parties should conduct their primary elections and the election of their flag bearers. The INEC chairman lamented that the political parties are taking advantages of the security agencies not enforcing the electoral laws, hence the continued electoral violence.
: 'The law enforcement agencies have not been able to a large extent, to enforce these provisions of the Electoral Act,' he said. He also tasked the educated youths on the need to enlighten their less privileged and less fortunate peers to refrain from violence.
The INEC chairman also called on members of the political class to refrain from making pronouncements that overheat the polity and incite youth violence. 'Once the process is free and fair, politicians must learn to accept defeat gallantly and those who win must be generous in their victory,' he added.