AA PeaceWorks coordinators returned to their respective LGAs after the training held in Port Harcourt between 15th and 18th January and immediately spun into action to organise the Community Stakeholders Network in each of their LGAs. The CSN concept is a brainchild of the AAPeaceWorks and was used during the 2007 and 2011 general elections, and the 2012 Governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The membership of the CSNs will be drawn from traditional councils, religious leaders, women groups, opinion leaders, youth groups, (especially the ex-militants), representatives of the Nigeria Police and State Security Service, and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The CSNs will form Early Warning and Early Response Systems at a community level as a platform for identifying brewing political and election-related crisis and inform early intervention. By having members of INEC, the police and SSS on the CSNs, potential problems can be dealt with immediately. Also by having police and SSS representatives working together with civil society members, trust is built. The security services can detect and respond to early warning signs faster, thereby encouraging synergy and collaborative efforts among the security agencies, the electoral body (INEC) and civil society. The CSNs will assist with voter education, and organize at least two Town Hall Meetings in each local government –the first round of town hall meetings will be held before the elections (starting the week of January 26) and the second round after the elections. They will also analyse issues and take appropriate advocacy actions.
The inaugural meetings of the CSNs across the 18LGAs under the nonviolent election project commenced yesterday Wednesday 21 January 2015. Each CSN will have 7 more weekly meeting. During the weekly meetings, members will receive basic capacity building in skills such as correct election procedure, conflict analysis and management, conflict sensitivity, and advocacy. These meetings also allow members to report on early warning signs of election-related conflict and respond appropriately. Watch out for more reports.
Let’s say YES to a world of peace and shun wahala!!!!!