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Presidential election revealed ethnic, religious, demographic fault lines –UN


The United Nations on Wednesday said that the presidential election held on February 25 have revealed the sharp ethnic, religious and demographic fault in the country, despite the signing of the peace accord by candidates and their political parties.

The UN also stated that since Nigeria is standing at a crossroads, engagement in genuine dialogue, involving all the stakeholders would be pivotal in calling for accountability to restore confidence in the governance processing.

The Senior Human Rights Advisor in the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Adwoa Kufuor, stated these during the launch of a national stability dialogue in Abuja with the theme, ‘Promoting post-election stability, justice and gender inclusion’, organised by a peace building organisation, International Alert, in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency and Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience.

Kufuor said, “As we know, many peace accords which were based on the constitution and the Electoral Act were signed both at the state and federal levels on peaceful elections, where political parties made commitments on ensuring peaceful climate including on hate speech.

“The presidential elections have revealed the sharp ethnic, religious, and demographic fault lines behind these numbers. This only serves to remind us it takes more than a signing of documents. It requires genuine political will to translate paper commitments into concrete actions.

“As you all know, many Nigerians face chronic instability, extreme violence and extreme poverty, 130 million according to the World Bank. One shock after another is destroying lives and breaking down resilience, multiplying grievances and divisions and diminishing trust.

“Nigeria stands at a crossroad. We need all of society engagement in genuine dialogue with all stakeholders including civil society and ordinary citizens whose voices are crucial in calling for accountability to restore the confidence of stakeholders in the governance process. We will continue to accompany the people of Nigeria on their journey to peaceful co-existence, lasting dignity, freedom and justice.”

At the event, the Country Director of International Alert, Paul Nyulaku, advised the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to dialogue and negotiate with aggrieved political parties and persons, after the general polls, in order to douse tension in the country.

Nyulaku said Tinubu should close ranks with aggrieved political parties and candidates in the presidential election to reduce tension in Nigeria.

He said, “Polarisation between social groups is a growing challenge in Nigeria. The incoming government must prioritise national reconciliation and seek to build broad support for democratic institutions and non-violent conflict resolution.

“By promoting locally owned, women-led advocacy work, we hope the national stability dialogue project can help Nigeria along the path to a peaceful and prosperous future.”

The chairman of the occasion and former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Luther-Agwai (retd.), said for effective dialogue, parties involved must ensure that they speak in a non-partisan manner.

He said that women should be invited to dialogue because they also bear the brunt of conflicts.

The former CDS said, “One thing that really fascinated me today is the issue of dialogue. It is not negotiation. It is a dialogue, I think that is what we really need in our country. We need to dialogue with each other.

“We need to talk in a non-partisan way and we need to talk in neutrality of what is happening, see it as it is and say it as it is.

“I thank the International Alert for this forum that we can come to discuss. I am happy with what has been said because it is only when we identify what is wrong that we can rectify it.

“At the end, I think what we will get is trust. And when there is dialogue there will be trust, and when there is trust, there will be progress and development.”

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