The biggest obstacles to credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria is the attitude and behavior of the members of the political class, the institutional weakness of the political parties and low level of democratic citizenship, according to a new report. In a fluid political environment of the Nigerian type, the interaction among these factors on the one hand, and the inter-section between these factors and the politicization of regional, ethnic and religious identities can provide a volatile mix capable of poisoning the political environment, says the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA):
Already, troubling signs of elite fragmentation, insurgency in the north east, youth militancy in the Niger Delta, the management of IDPs, and increasing socio-economic hardship occasioned by the economic recession all manifest echoes that impact on the electoral process. The threats arising from these factors to the electoral process in the build up to the 2019 elections need to be managed through a comprehensive approach to conflict management and campaigns for violence-free and peaceful elections. National institutions and civil society with mandate for conflict management, peace-building and promoting a culture of peace as well as Nigeria’s development partners need to devote energy and resources in this direction.
YIAGA is a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy.