The Youth for Change and Social Life Development Foundation (YOFCI), a Non-governmental Organization has revealed how its Election Violence Mitigation and Prevention (e-VIP) project contributed to a violence-free 2023 general election in Akwa Ibom State.
The project funded by Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), successfully implemented the e-VIP project, which they said yielded significant results in preventing and mitigating election-related conflicts.
Addressing newsmen at a press briefing on Saturday on the ‘Akwa Ibom State 2023 Post Election outcomes in selected Local Government Areas’, YOFCI’s Executive Director, Amb. Peace Edem reeled out the remarkable achievements of the e-VIP project during the 2023 elections.
He explained that the e-VIP project, strategically conducted over an eight-month period, focused on addressing potential triggers of election violence in eight selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) within the state. These LGAs, including Uyo, Ibiono Ibom, Itu, Ikono, Obot Akara, Oron, Eket, and Ukanafun, witnessed the positive impact of YOFCI’s efforts, he said.
According to Amb. Edem, the project adopted a multifaceted approach such as sensitization through media messaging, establishment of Community Stakeholders Networks (CSNs), training of peace monitors for reporting election-related conflicts, advocacy visits, and multi-stakeholder forums.
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Edem noted that these initiatives were directed towards sensitizing young people and stakeholders about the importance of peaceful elections while highlighting the dangers of election-related violence.
He pointed out that the project’s key successes was the establishment of community-based stakeholders’ networks, which enabled swift responses to incidents of violence.
Similarly, he explained that the engagement efforts undertaken by YOFCI ensured meaningful conversations around curbing election-related violence which according to him culminated in the signing of a Peace Accord or issuance of communiqué by critical stakeholders, solidifying their commitment to peaceful elections.
Amb. Edem also highlighted the project’s positive influence on political party stakeholders as well as party aspirants and candidates, who actively supported the call for a violence-free election.
However, Amb. Edem noted that the implementation of the new Electoral Act provided YOFCI with a powerful tool to educate citizens about the dire consequences of electoral violence, especially emphasizing the risks associated with actions like ballot box snatching and violence at polling units.
On post-election, the YOFCI ED disclosed that the group organized engagement sessions in Obot Akara, Ibiono Ibom, and Itu LGAs, which he noted provided them a platform for reflective learning and knowledge sharing from the electoral process.
While thanking PIND Foundation for the funding which according to Edem played an instrumental role in achieving peaceful outcomes throughout the entire electoral process of the 2023 general elections, YOFIC pledged their commitment to advocate for peace as the local government elections draws close.