Mr Peace Edem, Executive Director, Youth for Change and Social Life Foundation (YOFCI) (middle) addressing a press conference on the the outcome of its e-VIP project.

Abasifreke Effiong

Youth for Change and Social Life Development Foundation (YOFCI) has said that less cases of violence were recorded during the 2023 general elections in Akwa Ibom State, against predictions.

Compared to 2019 and 2015 elections, YOFCI said the last election was more peaceful.

Speaking at a media briefing in Uyo on Saturday 5th August on the outcome of its Election Violence Mitigation and Prevention Project (e-VIP) implemented in select local government areas in Akwa Ibom State, Executive Director of YOFCI, Mr Peace Edem, said the reduction in incidences of violence during the election cycle can be attributable to electoral reforms, increased advocacy and youth-based campaigns against electoral violence by CSOs and the e-VIP project implemented in the State.

Mr Edem said eight local government areas that had leading candidates for the different elections were selected for the project. The LGAs were, Ibiono Ibom, Uyo, Itu, Ikono, Eket, Oron, Obot Akara and Ukanafun.

He said the project included sensitization/media messaging, creating community stakeholders networks (CSNs), training of peace monitors on election-related conflict incident reporting, carried out advocacy visitations, and created a multi-stakeholders’ forum.

Under the project, violence was defined as any form of disturbance that causes chaos during the election.

Mr Edem said Akwa Ibom was listed as one of the potential violent flashpoints ahead of the 2023 general elections but
analyses of electoral incident reports from their peace monitors show that violent threats during the 2023 elections were minimal.

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“I will attribute the reduction in violence during the election to the new electoral law and the sensitization programmes carried out by us under the e-VIP, and other organisations. We were able to drive home the point that if you run away with ballot boxes, that it would have no meaning. Because of this awareness, young people who are always at the centre of violence during elections restrained themselves and refrained from it.”

YOFCI’s E.D, said the e-VIP project funded by the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) contributed towards peaceful and violence-free election through it layers of youths and stakeholders’ engagements before, during and after the 2023 elections.

The organisation said it will publish full report on the outcomes of its e-VIP project soon.