As stakeholders in Plateau State prepare for local government elections slated for Feb. 17, 2018 a political analyst, Mr Anthony Izang, has advised them to adhere to the rules to avoid electoral violence. Izang particularly cautioned key players like the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), political parties and voters against actions that could impede justice and fair play. His advice was contained in a paper titled: “Strategy of Curbing Electoral Violence in Nigeria”, presented at the 2017 Emergency Preparedness and Response Team (EPRT) interactive forum on Sunday, in Pankshin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EPRT is an arm of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), an NGO of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos. The response team consists of volunteers, who respond to, and report emergency situations that could lead to violence in the 17 local government areas of Plateau. Izang, a senior lecturer at the University of Jos, regretted that elections in Nigeria were frequently marred by violence which he blamed on the non-adherence to regulations by key players. “Strict adherence to the rules of the game by key players will curtail the tendencies of electoral violence, before, during or after the polls.
“We can avoid and prevent electoral violence in the forthcoming local government elections if PLASIEC, political parties and other stakeholders operates within the ambit of the law guiding the exercise. “We want all stakeholders to work toward a peaceful, credible and acceptable poll come Feb. 17. We want the exercise to come and go very quietly,” he said. The analyst urged PLASIEC to sensitise voters on what was expected of them, so as to avoid confusion on election days. He also advised the electoral umpire to be transparent and objective during the polls, so as minimise suspicion among the electorate.