Edo Election: CLEEN foundation urges politicians, INEC, security agents to be professional 

Story from Kenneth Afor, Lagos
The Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN) Foundation, non-governmental organisation has urged politicians in their respective parties, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and various security agencies to be professional in their conduct towards the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo state on September 19th, 2020.
This was stated in a press release by Benson Chinedu Olugbuo, Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation in Abuja, September 10, 2020.
Olugbuo, in his statement, disclosed that hate speech and political thuggery could be one of the key elements that could foment violence even as the election is just about a week.
In its security threat assessment conducted in the state, about 76.7 per cent of respondents are of the view that the election will be violence-free due to the state’s long-standing history of peaceful conduct of elections but 51.7 per cent are of the view that violence may occur on the day of the election.
According to him, other factors such as Dynamics of Local Conflicts, Illegal Migrants, Citizens’ Disaffection with Government Policies, Drug Abuse, Exclusion from Participation in Electoral Processes, Party Politics, Partiality of INEC Officials and Electoral Violence as well as Security Arrangement and the Media are the areas that could spark fracases during the election.
On the part of the media, about 82.9 per cent of respondents believe that misinformation by the media could be a be a threat to the security of the upcoming Edo State elections adding that broadcast and publication of hate speech contents may be one of the many flashpoints.
Based on these findings, the foundation recommends that the “Federal Government of Nigeria issues intensify commitment to peaceful elections in the State, and encourage all contestants to abide by the electoral act.
“State Government and religious leaders, professional bodies, and community leaders to encourage and mobilize members to exercise their rights to vote,” it stated.
In its closing remarks, it urges the security agencies “to implement robust and ‘right-sized’ deployment of operatives across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in ensuring efficient security provisioning before, during, and after the election.
Also, the umpire in its conduct” should be professional in the discharge of duty and ensure early distribution of non-sensitive materials to all LGA headquarters.
Above all, the foundation is asking the various political parties to “abide by the peace agreement and be committed to it adding that the media should intensify awareness creation and voter education to discourage apathy and motivate people to vote, as well as deliver refresher training to practitioners to maintain a high level of professionalism, accuracy, and impartiality in their coverage.” it added.


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