2019: CLEEN Foundation, INEC partner on violence free election

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A WELCOME REMARK/STATEMENT OF PURPOSE PRESENTED BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CLEEN FOUNDATION, DR. BENSON OLUGBUO ON THE OCCASION OF REVISION/VALIDATION WORKSHOP OF THE ELECTION VIOLENCE MITIGATION AND ADVOCACY TOOL (EVMAT) HELD IN R&A HOTEL LAGOS.

I bring you all warm greetings from the board, management and staff of CLEEN Foundation as I welcome you to this workshop.

Today, CLEEN together with her partner, The Electoral Institute of INEC is bringing the review/harmonization process of the EVMAT to an end for possible adoption and subsequent use by the stakeholders to carry out electoral risk assessments in Nigeria.

As a background, the EVMAT was developed in 2016 through a project implemented by CLEEN and The Electoral Institute of INEC with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The objective was to harmonize and standardize the methodology of carrying out electoral risk assessment by stakeholders who wish to assess the election environment for possible out break of violence during and after the elections. It pertinent to note that the harmonization and standardization of the methodology became necessary as the Commission received several risk assessment reports from electoral stakeholders ahead of the 2015 general elections with contradictory findings. So instead of the reports aiding INEC and stakeholders, it was more of confusion and the commission discovered that the various stakeholders used different methodology to arrive at the various findings hence, the need to standardize the methodology.

Since the development of the tool in 2016, CLEEN and the electoral Institute of INEC has deployed the tools ahead of major elections in Nigeria such as the Edo, Ondo, Anambra and Ekiti state governorship elections. However, at the period of development of the tools, stakeholders noted that the tool need to be reviewed from time to time as the dynamics of the electoral risk factors continue to unfold. The harmonized instrument had earlier been presented at a methodology workshop which generated further observations and inputs from experts present at the workshop, hence the need to validate. CLEEN Foundation deployed trained field workers in Ekiti State for the pilot test of the Harmonized Electoral Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMT) to test its effectiveness in predicting electoral risk factors/violence in Nigeria. It is worthy to note that the final product of this workshop is expected to be used by all interested stakeholders in the election security and not only CLEEN Foundation and the electoral institute. CLEEN has seen report from USIP and will encourage them and other stakeholders to adopt the use of this standardized methodology going forward.

The finalized EVMT will help identify early warning signals in terms of election security threats with a view to assisting relevant stakeholders: INEC, security agencies, political parties, CSOs, media professional to deploy appropriate responses before escalation. The revision is in line with international best practices.  After three years of the tool, both in theory and application, it is important to take stock and make necessary adjustments where necessary. This is what CLEEN Foundation has done. For the future use of the tool to be legitimate, it is pertinent that the revised tool is piloted and its outcome subjected to critical interrogation, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections. This is the essence of this validation meeting.

The presentation that will be made is a pilot finding of the harmonized tool ahead of Ekiti 2018 governorship elections. We will all look at the findings and assess the EVMAT ability to predict electoral risk factors and mitigate them ahead of the elections through the actions of various stakeholders.

In conclusion, we all know that today, vote buying has started playing a significant role and if not handled with care is capable of triggering violence during elections and I suggest we frame a question to capture vote buying in the EVMAT. Thank you all for coming and I wish all of us a fruitful deliberation.

The European Union-Supported Project (EU-SDGN) on “Mitigating Electoral Violence towards the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria” aims to proactively implement interconnected activities that will mitigate security threats and electoral violence in Nigeria pre, during and post 2019 general elections, this is with a view to promoting public safety and security; enhancing election security management in Nigeria and the electoral landscape in particular.

 

The EU Funded Programme “Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria” (EU-SDGN) aims to contribute to the reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through building strong, effective and legitimate democratic institutions. The project implementation commenced in 2017 to 2021, accompanying the 2016-2019 electoral cycle.

CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organization with two decades of working experience in the promotion of public safety, security and accessible justice in Nigeria. These we do through empirical strategy, legislative advocacy and demonstration programmes in partnership with government, civil society groups and the private sector. Kindly join us in Nov this year as we mark the 20th Anniversary of CLEEN Foundation.