The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has called on political parties, candidates, the media and all citizens to shun divisive utterances over the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi.
Prof. Adele Jinadu, Chair, CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC), made the appeal during a news conference in Abuja.
He said all stakeholders must behave responsibly so as not to undermine the electoral process.
Also, Mrs Funke Baruwa, a member of CDD-EAC, said election officials, security agencies, political parties, the media and civil society organisations should apply lessons learnt from the general elections.
She said that sufficient efforts to mitigate threats of violence, misinformation and inducements during the election should be pursued by all stakeholders.
Baruwa added that the CDD Election Analysis Centre had developed evidence-based reports that would inform and interrogate key issues in Nigeria’s electoral process, and has deployed observers and fact checkers numbering 150 across the three states.
“This is in addition to a team of trained information disorder analysts, data clerks, reviewers and seasoned election analysts.
“The outcomes of the elections will significantly impact the political fortunes of the parties involved and lay the foundation for subsequent off-cycle elections and the next general elections.
“As a result, we are mindful that the fallout from the 2023 general elections remain fresh in the memories of voters and politicians as they engage with the process.
“The fact that three different parties won the presidential vote in these states, Labour winning Imo, PDP winning Bayelsa and APC winning Kogi, it is by no means certain that these results will have a strong bearing on the outcome of these governorship polls.”
Baruwa said that the elections would be conducted in the face of economic challenges and insecurity across the country.
She said that these realities, alongside the peculiarities in socio-economic and security situations in each state would play a major role in shaping the electoral process.
The official said that there were also concerns of abuse of power of incumbency by governors instituting policies to suppress dissent and opposition party voices in their states.
“This trend is harmful to our democracy and associated spikes in cases of pre-election violence in these states raises concerns for voter turnout in affected areas.
“These issues point to a need to ensure that all actors in the electoral landscape are aware of the important roles they hold in ensuring a peaceful election.
“We call on the security agencies to be professional and non-partisan in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“We are also optimistic that the deployment of election materials will be prompt, while hoping technological glitches that were observed in the February elections will be addressed.”
Baruwa said that the elections would be held in the aftermath of recent judicial pronouncements that have changed the nature of the campaign cycle.
“We are hopeful that political parties and citizens see this as a call to eschew violence and revert to legal and laid-down adjudication processes in resolving post-election conflicts,” she said. (NAN)