As part of measures to ensure a credible election devoid of violence in Ekiti State come June 18, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has recruited and equipped some field agents with the requisite knowledge and skills on the application of one of the key election protection tools, known as Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy EVMAT which is an initiative of The Electoral Institute.
According to INEC, EVMAT is a potent tool used in identifying and mapping possible areas of electoral violence which could occur before, during or post elections periods with the aim of proffering effective preventive and/or mitigating measures to immunize the situation.
At the workshop held in Ado Ekiti, a resource person, Professor Shola Omotola of the Federal University Oye Ekiti, urged the field agents to be honest and diligent in the application of the tool so as to come up with integrity data.
He gave the agents tips on how best to achieve the task ahead including how to manage respondents who might not want to cooperate owing to the current harsh economic situation
In his address of welcome, the Board Chairman of the Electoral Institute, Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru said the step was taken towards ensuring the successful conduct of the Saturday, June 18, 2022 Governorship Elections in Ekiti.
He said “There seems to be an erroneous notion in the Nigerian Political space that violence is a helpful route to winning elections.
“This seems to be the typical mindset of many political players in our clime, and so they often make preparations for elections as if it is preparation for war.
“INEC as an Election Management Body (EMB) finds this totally unacceptable and refuses to be dragged along this primordial line of thinking, hence, all efforts of the commission are geared towards making election a thing of joy where winners and losers celebrate together.”
Also speaking, the Director General of the Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Ideis added that the event which was designed and geared towards equipping the agents with requisite skill sets to be able to effectively engage in the Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT) for the Ekiti State Governorship Election.
According to him, the Electoral Institute (TEI) deploys the instrument to identify potential hot-spots and flash points so as to guide the Commission and election security personnel and other electoral stakeholders on places and areas that are likely going to be violent, and the urgent need to develop strategies to mitigate the violence.
He noted that INEC in recent times had deployed the EVMAT instrument in FCT Area Council Elections, Anambra State Governorship Election, Edo and Ondo States Governorship Elections and it worked.