The Driving Force Behind Peaceful Elections In Rivers State

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Rivers State, located in the southern part of Nigeria, has been able to maintain relative peace and tranquility in recent times, especially in comparison to other parts of the country experiencing electoral violence and unrest.

In Nigeria, electoral violence and unrest have been recurring issues in many parts of the country, especially during elections. This has often led to the loss of lives and the destruction of property. The government and security agencies in Rivers State have shown extraordinary skill in preserving the state’s security and preventing the outbreak of any election-related violence, despite the challenges that often plague the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

Yet, it is important to note that recent riots and protests, which took place in Port Harcourt in the early hours of Friday, February 17, have briefly interrupted the peace and tranquility of the area. Having stated that, it is important to emphasize that the protests have nothing to do with any political or election plans and are instead motivated by the scarcity of the Naira, the country’s currency.

However, law enforcement organizations, particularly the police, quickly stepped in and were able to put an end to the protests, restoring order and safeguarding the state’s stability.

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The electoral arena has been afflicted by recurrent occurrences of confusion and unrest for a considerable amount of time in Rivers State due to a continuous pattern of electoral violence. However, a noticeable departure from this recurring pattern has been duly noted in the upcoming election, which is scheduled to take place in less than five days.

This is because the electoral environment has conspicuously lacked the usual disruptions that have historically defined such proceedings. It is important to emphasize that this stands in stark contrast to Osun, Ogun, and Enugu, where INEC offices have recently been targeted and attacked, leading to an increase in security surveillance in and around those locations throughout the states. No incidents of violence against INEC offices or police stations have been reported, leaving Rivers State unharmed.

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One of the factors that have contributed to the relative peace and tranquility in Rivers State is the proactive measures taken by the government to prevent electoral violence. The state government, in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has put in place measures to ensure a free, fair, and credible electoral process. This includes the deployment of security personnel to monitor the electoral process and prevent any form of violence.

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Another factor that has contributed to the peaceful atmosphere in Rivers State is the commitment of the people to peaceful coexistence. The people of Rivers State have demonstrated a high level of political maturity and tolerance, which has helped to prevent electoral violence. The state has a diverse population, including people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. However, despite these differences, the people have been able to live together peacefully.

Furthermore, the media and civil society groups in Rivers State have played a critical role in promoting peace and tranquillity. These groups have consistently educated the people on the need to eschew violence during elections and the benefits of peaceful coexistence.

The peaceful electoral atmosphere in Rivers State can be attributed to various factors such as the proactive measures taken by the government, the commitment of the people to peaceful coexistence, and the role played by the media and civil society groups.

Even though electoral violence and unrest are still rampant in many parts of Nigeria, Rivers State has been able to maintain relative peace and tranquility. It is encouraging to see the positive impact of collaboration between the government, citizens, media, and civil society groups on the state’s electoral process, and it is hoped that other regions in the country can learn from Rivers State’s example to achieve peaceful elections.

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Aka Ekene, PBA Journalism Mentee
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