Peaceful Elections Aren’t Myths: Retna Elections’ view from Edo State

The legacy of elections in Nigeria has been historically demoralising. Peaceful elections have been rare occurrences due to prevalent violence and rampant corruption that has often marred the process for both Nigerians and global onlookers. Nigeria’s political leaders, desperate to cling on to power, have taken to exploiting identity and tribal differences for their gain. As a result, our elections in the past have been characterised by a distrusting environment that has left many doubting the election process.However, the Retna Election Portal has revealed a glimmer of hope for the future of Nigerian elections. During this year’s elections, voter turnout and morale were high, despite the expected election disturbances.

Election Officials and Voters Calmly Interacting.
From: Eben, New Benin, Edo State, Nigeria
Taken By: David Iloba

Despite these activities, the portal also revealed something that provided hope for the future of Nigerian elections: in Edo State; peaceful elections happened. Despite minor cases of violence at certain polling stations, people still came out in numbers, taking orders from polling station agents, and documenting the events of the election. This demonstrates that peaceful elections are possible in Nigeria if stakeholders make a concerted effort towards it.

A Woman Having Her Identity Verified at a Polling Station.
From: Eben, New Benin, Edo State, Nigeria
Taken By: David Iloba

At Retna, we are proud to have played a role in facilitating this process by providing a platform where people can share their experiences and tell their own election story. We worked with Nigerians to ensure that the election was transparent and open, which is important for building trust in the democratic process and also ensuring that the will of the people is accurately reflected in the election results.

We believe that there is still much work to be done to ensure that Nigerian elections are free, fair, and transparent. Political corruption, voter suppression, and violence are just some of the issues that need to be addressed to make peaceful elections a norm in Nigeria and by extension Africa. Political leaders, civil society organisations, the media, and citizens themselves all have a role to play in making peaceful elections a reality.

People Having Conversations at the Polling Stations.
From: Eben, New Benin, Edo State, Nigeria
Taken By: David Iloba

Finally, we can say that there is hope, with Retna Elections and the tenacity of Nigerians,  peaceful elections will become a norm and Nigeria can become a model for free and fair elections across the African continent.Take a look at how Nigeria’s 2023 Governorship elections in Edo State were documented via Retna Elections.

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