Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue holds in Calabar over Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Processes

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Calabar– The International Press Centre (IPC), Tuesday, hosted a multi-stakeholder dialogue at the Metropolitan Hotels, under the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN II) project. The event, themed “Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Processes, Institutions, and Elections,” drew various stakeholders to discuss the critical task of restoring faith in Nigeria’s electoral system NEGROIDHAVEN can report.

The dialogue, which was the fourth in a series after sessions in Abuja, Lagos, and Kaduna, saw active participation from political parties, civil society organizations, media representatives, and election management bodies.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director of IPC, emphasized the importance of rebuilding trust in Nigeria’s electoral system. He acknowledged the commendable advancements in the 2023 general elections, such as the successful deployment of the BVAS technology, but also pointed out the challenges, including logistical issues and incidents of violence, which have led to waning confidence among the electorate.

“Democracy would be the ultimate loser if these concerns are not properly addressed as a matter of strategic imperative of rebuilding trust in the electoral process,” Mr. Arogundade stated. He underscored the necessity of focusing on all critical actors, not just INEC, in rebuilding this trust, highlighting the Yoruba proverb that a single hand cannot lift a load, symbolizing the collective effort required from all stakeholders.

The event was chaired by Dr. Itam Abang, CEO of Kejie Banyi Boki Foundation and former Member of Cross River State House of Assembly. In her address, Dr. Abang stressed the importance of trust in the electoral system as the foundation of democracy. “Trust is the cornerstone of any thriving democracy. It is the bedrock upon which our electoral system stands, ensuring that the will of the people is freely and fairly expressed,” she said.

Dr. Abang called on all stakeholders to actively participate, collaborate, and engage in identifying gaps and recommending reforms to enhance transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in the electoral process. “With your active participation, collaboration, and engagement, we can identify gaps, recommend reforms, and implement measures to enhance transparency, accountability, and inclusivity,” she urged.

The dialogue featured a lead presentation by Prof. Takim Ojua Asu, Head of the Department of Social Works, University of Calabar, on “The Role of Critical Stakeholders in Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Institutions, the Electoral Processes, and Elections in Nigeria.” The session also included contributions from key stakeholders, such as representatives from political parties, the National Orientation Agency, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the NBA, and youth organizations.

The multi-stakeholder dialogue in Calabar emphasized the collective responsibility of all actors in the electoral process to restore and strengthen trust, ensuring a vibrant and inclusive democracy in Nigeria.