Can Peace be sustained for 2015 Election?
“Elections without integrity are elections that do not allow citizens a credible, safe and fair means of choosing their leaders and the policies they pursue through a peaceful institutional mechanism”- Kofi Awoonor.
This captured the thought of the National Network Coordinator, West Africa Network for Peace Building, (WANEP), Mr. Ifeanyi Okechukwu, in his presentation titled: “Examining Threats of Violence and Opportunities for Peace in 2015 Elections of Nigeria” at a Town and Gown Interaction organized by the Department of Political Science and International Relations.
He stated further that the level of integrity exhibited by electorate and electoral bodies would determine the credibility of the election. “This is an indication that Nigerians’ voices are being heard”, he added.
According to Mr. Okechukwu, Nigerians have developed a high level of interest in the forthcoming election, which has heightened the tension in some parts of the country.
He added that those who want the statusquo to remain would oppose any level of change. “Nigeria’s survival as a nation is dependent on how political aspirants conduct themselves before and after the elections”, he said.
When speaking on the reactions of people towards the elections, He observed that citizens have become sentimental based on religion and ethnicity, which the politicians have capitalized on to aggravate the level of tension.
The Guest Speaker, therefore, recommended an awareness programme for Nigerians by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He said, “This will prevent assumption, manipulation and tension”. He also suggested the strict prosecution of persons who engage in the act of incitement and disturbance of public peace.
Mr. Ifeanyi Okechukwu holds a first degree in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nssuka (1998), and second degree in Peace and Public Studies from University of Ibadan (2012).
In his remarks, Head, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Dr. Moses Duruji stated that the purpose of the Town and Gown Interaction is to make education both theoretical and practical.
He stated further that Covenant University graduates were expected to be contributors to their societies, which is also in agreement with the Vision of Raising a New Generation of Leaders in terms of the rebirth of the Continent.
“Nigeria is blessed in terms of human and natural resources but still lags behind. The essence of this University is to bring about a change in order to contribute and make impact in this period of election when violence is prevalent; we know that for any society to make progress peace is imperative. Whatever we want to achieve is dependent on an environment of peace which necessitated this Town and Gown interaction, therefore, we want to inculcate that virtue into you our students; we want you to be peacemakers and contribute immensely to your societies,” he said.
Present at the programme were the Deputy Dean, School of Social Sciences, Dr. Daniel Gberevbie, faculty and students of the Department of Political Science and International Relations.