The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on the National Peace Committee (NPC) to engage actors in the political space early enough to minimise incidences of electoral violence in the 2023 general elections.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the call, on Wednesday in Abuja, when he received a delegation from the NPC alongside representatives from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Kofi Annan Foundation, led by the Head of the NPC Secretariat, Rev. Father Atta Barkindo, who represented Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The INEC chairman, who commended the contribution of the committee to peaceful elections through the Peace Accord initiative introduced in 2015, noted that nations are lucky when they have moral voices, that their authority does not draw from statutory provisions but exists purely from moral persuasion, and people listened.
“That is why I think it is a big plus for us as a nation to have a national peace committee and the calibre of people involved in the National Peace Committee,” Yakubu said.
Appealing to the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led committee for its intervention with regards to electoral violence, Yakubu said, “One of the things that the National Peace Committee can help us do in terms of mitigating security challenges is early engagement with some of the actors. Not just signing the peace accord on the eve of elections, but imagine that some of those who perpetrate violence on election day are not necessarily candidates in the election, but people engaged by beneficiaries of the election.
So, if we can engage with the actors early enough, I hope that we will be able to turn a new leaf in that respect.”
Earlier, Bishop Kukah and convener of the meeting commended the support of the Prof. Yakubu-led INEC towards cascading the peace accord from the national level to the states.
He noted that the support and successes recorded endeared the Kofi Anan Foundation and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to the NPC.
Kukah said they were at the commission to seek ways to deepen the existing relationship between the NPC and INEC.