Women on the platform of West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Nigeria, Thursday, urged Lagos state governor, Mr Babajide-Sanwo-Olu and political leaders across the country to ensure elections in their domains are devoid of violence and activities that might disrupt the peaceful conduct of the 2023 polls.
The women, who marched from the Lagos State Television House (LTV8) to the residence of the Iyaloja of Lagos state, Folashade Tinubu-Ojo before presenting their demands to the state governor at the State House, called on Nigerians not to disrupt the electioneering activities in any part of the country, as this might lead to retaliatory measures that could lead to violence.
Head of Programme at the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria), Patience Ikpeh-Obaulo who led the peaceful march said the organization, noted with deep concern the persistence spate of insecurity and violence in the country with untold consequences on the lives and livelihoods of the citizenry.
The women carried placards bearing inscriptions such as ‘Let’s unite for peaceful elections’, ‘Shun electoral violence, save Nigeria’, ‘Election is a time for hope and sustenance of democracy, not a time for violence’, and ‘Your voice, your vote, ‘let’s embrace peace during elections’ among others.
Speaking on the incessant attacks on offices and facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Patience said the attacks have raised concerns about the safety of electoral officials, as well as the feasibility of holding elections across the country while the electoral campaign has further polarised different ethnic groups, with attacks allegedly against political party candidates during campaigns.
She said, “As Nigeria prepares to hold its seventh consecutive general election since the country returned to democracy in 1999, with the Presidential and Federal Parliamentary elections holding on 25 February 2023, and the Gubernatorial and State Legislative elections on 11 March 2023 respectively, political violence has continued to bedevil the country. Among its most worrisome manifestations are the attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s election management body.”
Among their demands, the women said “Your Excellency sir, while WANEP appreciates your efforts in safeguarding Lagos and her residents by the various policies and actions, we enjoin you to ensure a violence electoral process to all irrespective of their political and ethnic affiliation.”
“WANEP- Nigeria in partnership with the Urgent Action Fund Africa (UAF- Africa) uses this medium to call for violence free and peaceful 2023 elections. Elections in Nigeria have been of major concern to its citizenry, as many are frightened by violent incidents that may occur and most especially its effect on women and children.”