The Nigeria general elections in 2019 is likely going to marred with violence, this according to the United States Government saying it could have significant consequences for the the country and beyond.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor Nagy at the US Congress hearing on Nigeria’s coming general elections in 2019.
Ben Murray-Bruce, Senate president, Bukola Saraki, Nnena Ukeje, are some of the dignitaries that attended the event hearing titled, “Nigeria at a Crossroads.
From the event transcript, it was gathered that the US rep believed the violence might be a localised one and not a nation-wide violence.
The upcoming general elections is going to serve as a major test of Nigeria’s young democracy.
“I can tell you from my impressions during my travels and my previous service in Nigeria that I fear there will be some violence around these elections, as has been the case with previous elections.
“I do not anticipate large-scale nation-wide conflict, but rather localised violence.
“We are already seeing increased tensions and polarisation as the election approaches. We assess that politicians are turning to narratives of identity politics in an attempt to improve their popularity, with potentially serious consequences for national unity.
“However, Nigeria’s political system and society have weathered such tensions before.”
Nagy also listed Rivers, Borno, Benue, Kano as potential hotspots and was happy that the major candidates had now signed a peace pact.
“In assessing potential ‘hotspots’ for violence, we look at places that are historically volatile around elections such as Rivers and Borno states.
“We look at states that are currently tense, especially if state-level politics are contentious like those in Benue, Plateau, as well as those in high-stakes locations with large populations such as Kano.
“We regularly engage with civil society organisations working in these ‘hotspots’ and support their
peacebuilding efforts. USAID programmes and our public diplomacy campaigns also support peace campaigns across the country, such as #VoteNotFight.
“2019 will be a significant year for Nigerian democracy – it has been 20 years since the country returned to democratic rule and this election’s youngest voters have never known a Nigeria without democracy,”
Areas of concerns were listed as follows:
- Terrorist attacks on electoral institutions,
- Potential attacks on the legitimacy of the INEC and the electoral process for political gain
- Intimidation and partisanship by security forces.
- Heightened insecurity, or violence towards voters, observers, or electoral officials.
Mr Nagy said the US government will be watching closely for any signs of violence and that the US doesn’t have a preferred candidate but will support the choice that best reflects the will of the people.
“supports a democratic process that is free, fair, transparent, peaceful, and reflects the will of the Nigerian people.”
Credit Source: Here