The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has charged its staff members to resolve all conflicts that may arise in the field during the Oct. 10, Ondo State governorship election before it escalates to crisis.
Mrs Feyi Saseyi, Acting Director, INEC headquarters, Abuja, made the appeal during a capacity building programme for heads of department, units and electoral officers held on Wednesday in Akure.
Saseyi explained that the peace building programme was organised by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directorate, INEC headquarters Abuja, in collaboration with the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES).
She expressed confidence that INEC was ready to conduct a fair and conflict-free election in the state.
Saseyi explained that conflict could arise some times in the field during electoral process.
She, however, stressed the need for INEC staff members to be empowered and equipped so that they could resolve any crisis before it could get out of hand.
“It has become imperatives for all INEC staff, especially those at the field during elections, to intervene when there is a dispute on the spot.
“Dispute may arise in many forms, staff should be equipped to intervene quickly so that dispute can be resolved before it degenerates into crisis,” she said.
Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihri, ECES Project Coordinator, explained that conflicts and disputes were inherent in elections because of the competitive nature in any election in the country.
Fassi-Fihri explained that election had become very controversial, contentious, and people would want to win at all costs; so, naturally, there would always be dispute.
According to him, disputes have been a clog in the smoothness of electoral operations and they also undermine the integrity of electoral process.
“INEC staff should position themselves as alternative peace makers and this may prevent the aggrieved parties from going to court.
“They may only have to file a cost effective and mutually satisfying agreement on the dispute, and the electoral process will be better.
“We will not have violence and also the result that comes out from the election will be accepted.
“The staff should have the skills of how to adjudicate and the skills to organise mediation among contending parties,” he said.