Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria, in collaboration with Big Minds Communication Consults (BMCC) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), organized a one-day interactive session on peaceful elections in Kaduna state on March 7, 2023.
More than 150 people attended the program held at the Correspondent Chapel in Kaduna. This diverse crowd supported the efforts to foster peaceful elections in the country’s 2023 election season. In solidarity with their shared interest in peace for the country, candidates from six political parties joined the gathering.
Efforts to mitigate political violence have been an ongoing focus for GPF Nigeria. Staff and volunteers have organized regular programs, including peacebuilding workshops and a radio series, to outreach on the community’s role in ensuring peace during the elections.
Alhaji Abdul Jafar Alabelewe, Chairman of the NUJ Correspondent Chapel branch, appreciated the collaborations that made the event possible and said peace is a crucial aspect of any developing progressive society. He called the involvement of journalists and the media “crucial in promoting peace.”
GPF Nigeria Country Director Rev. John Joseph Hayab appealed to the media to spread the message that “We are One Family under God irrespective of origin, faith, status, and political inclination.” He also beseeched them to handle the spread of information with care in a region that has “devastating experience of electoral and religious.” In the same vein, he cautioned religious leaders to use religion as a tool for peace and not division. He prays that all Nigerians will be able to enjoy the freedom of religion, speech, and expression regardless of their affiliations. “Whoever emerges will be the governor of the whole state, not of a particular religion,” concluded Rev. Hayab.
GPF Nigeria also hosts bi-weekly radio programs that have a particular emphasis on “Youth Voices Against Electoral Violence.” The radio show reaches more than a million people, spreading the message of peace before, during, and after any election in the country. Rimpyen Danjuma, the GPF Nigeria Documentation Officer, said in a radio program held on March 9 that “credit must be given where due because there was a remarkable improvement from the previous in the conduct of the 2023 presidential elections.”
The country is still processing front-runners in the elections, even postponing voting due to complications with a digital voting system. The radio program hosts and guest speakers encourage citizens to peacefully voice their opinions and trust in the country’s young democracy to review votes and use the court system to resolve disputes.
Simi John, a listener of the radio program, sent in a message to express how it has made an impact on her, saying, “I have played a part in several elections, and God willing, I shall be involved again this time. But I now see the assignment more as a form of service to humanity, not just a paid job, and hence will be more serious with it.”
Another listener, Janet Ayuba, called in and pointed out the variety of guests and topics, saying that she appreciates GPF Nigeria for “addressing all critical stakeholders.” She called on all Nigerians to not just embrace the message but also share it with friends, colleagues, and family members.
The program also receives calls from politicians themselves, such as Hon. Yakubu Musa, who stated, “The reason why most elections in the country are marred by crisis is because politicians see elections as a do or die affair, which is not supposed to be so.”
The road to peaceful elections is a long one, but GPF Nigeria, our partners, and passionate young leaders throughout the regions are bringing the country one step closer to that dream.
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