Nigerian President and presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) Goodluck Jonathan (C) sits among party leaders during a rally in Maiduguri on January 24, 2015. Boko Haram fighters have killed 15 villagers near Maiduguri, t ~ TUNJI OMIRIN
Abuja - Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, has blamed election violence on the alleged disempowerment of the electorate.
He cited the contentious manner the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) distributed the permanent voters cards and postponement of elections as examples.
"The seed of violence is sown when people perceive that they are being disenfranchised either by denying them the freedom to vote or through delay of electoral material," he said.
He said adding that such acts would send wrong messages of electoral malpractices.
“If we are talking about electoral violence, pre, during and post, some things have happened to which, perhaps we haven’t paid enough attention which is the most recent evidence of people snatching ballot boxes.
"And what is the recent evidence of electoral failures; people being disenfranchised, prevented from voting because electoral materials don’t get to them or their votes are cancelled or delayed,” Fashola said.
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He added that other possible reasons for electoral violence included the fact that some politicians did not accept defeat.
“Another possible cause of electoral violence is a reaction to a possible stimulus, a stimulus that suggests, ‘well we will do what we like to get power and you go and do what you like'.”
The governor also pointed to the amendment of the Electoral Act by Parliament, mandating that an aggrieved candidate must prosecute his case in 180 days or lose chances of getting fair hearing even if his case was genuine.
“You can’t deny access to justice and expect peace," he said.
He thus called for deeper investigation and analysis of electoral violence.
Deadly violence has marred the lead up to polls scheduled for the end of the month and April raising fears of similar skirmishes that marred the results of the last general election.