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Nigeria’s Presidential Elections Show Deep Religious and Ethnic Disparities

The United Nations on Wednesday said that the presidential election held on February 25 have revealed the sharp ethnic, religious and demographic fault in the country, despite the signing of the peace accord by candidates and their political parties.

The UN also stated that since Nigeria is standing at a crossroads, engagement in genuine dialogue, involving all the stakeholders would be pivotal in calling for accountability to restore confidence in the governance processing.

The Senior Human Rights Advisor in the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Adwoa Kufuor, stated these during the launch of a national stability dialogue in Abuja with the theme, ‘Promoting post-election stability, justice and gender inclusion’, organised by a peace building organisation, International Alert, in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency and Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience.

Kufuor said, “As we know, many peace accords which were based on the constitution and the Electoral Act were signed both at the state and federal levels on peaceful elections, where political parties made commitments on ensuring peaceful climate including on hate speech.

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“The presidential elections have revealed the sharp ethnic, religious, and demographic fault lines behind these numbers. This only serves to remind us it takes more than a signing of documents. It requires genuine political will to translate paper commitments into concrete actions.

“As you all know, many Nigerians face chronic instability, extreme violence and extreme poverty, 130 million according to the World Bank. One shock after another is destroying lives and breaking down resilience, multiplying grievances and divisions and diminishing trust.

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“Nigeria stands at a crossroad. We need all of society engagement in genuine dialogue with all stakeholders including civil society and ordinary citizens whose voices are crucial in calling for accountability to restore the confidence of stakeholders in the governance process.”

At the event, the Country Director of International Alert, Paul Nyulaku, advised the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to dialogue and negotiate with aggrieved political parties and persons, after the general polls, in order to douse tension in the country.

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Nyulaku said Tinubu should close ranks with aggrieved political parties and candidates in the presidential election to reduce tension in Nigeria.

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