ABUJA, Nigeria, April 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union (AU), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, have on 3rd April 2014 formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the deployment and integration of the Electoral Risk Management (ERM) tool in the electoral process of Nigeria. The ERM tool is designed to empower those who have immediate responsibility, or specific interest, to prevent and mitigate election-related violence, such as electoral management bodies, security sector agencies, civil society and other state and non-state actors.
Through this ERM tool project partnership, the three organizations have agreed to work together to improve the organizational capacity of INEC to address challenges relating to violence in the upcoming 2015 elections in Nigeria. The project will help INEC to identify the possible triggers for election-related violence before it occurs at different stages of the electoral cycle, assist in informed decision-making, and inform possible courses of action that may be appropriate in responding to identified threats.
Representing the African Union Commission in this important event were Dr. Khabele Matlosa, Director of Political Affairs, and Mr. Idrissa Kamara, Political Officer in the Department of Political Affairs. In his brief statement of mission, Dr. Matlosa noted the devastating effects of election-related violence on the continent and highlighted some of the efforts of the African Union Commission to address the phenomenon of election-related violence, including preventive diplomacy work of the Panel of the Wise and the long-term election observation methodology recently introduced in African Union election observation missions by the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit (DEAU) of the Department of Political Affairs. He said understanding the risks of election-related violence, conflict and security challenges are an important part of supporting democracy and protecting the credibility of electoral process. He therefore called upon Nigeria, as a key member state of the African Union as well as Africa’s largest democracy, to effectively utilize to Tool to ensure peaceful and credible electoral outcome in2015.
Also present at the signing ceremony was the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, H.E. John C.M. Groffen, who pledged financial support to the joint AU-IDEA-INEC Electoral Risk Management Tool project implementation. The National Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, other Commissioners and officials represented INEC. Mr. Sead Alihodzic, Senior Programme Officer based in Stockholm, Sweden represented International IDEA.
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