Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria collaborated with the Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria (CRUDAN) to gather faith leaders, traditional rulers, youth leaders, women leaders, civil society organizations, and community-based groups for the 2023 International Day of Peace celebration in Bukuru, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria. The event was held on September 19, two days ahead of a roundtable forum in Kaduna State hosted by GPF Nigeria on International Day of Peace on September 21, 2023. GPF Nigeria also hosted a one-day symposium on September 21 with staff and students of the Ibrahim Badami Babangida University Lapai, in Niger state, North Central Nigeria.
Around 400 people participated in the Peace Day programs, showcasing peaceful dialogue and a shared commitment to overcoming longstanding divides to promote peace in the region.
Rev. John Joseph Hayab, Country Director for GPF Nigeria, made an appearance on the National Television Authority during “Good Morning Nigeria,” sharing peacebuilding initiatives with 80,000,000 viewers. He called on Nigerians saying,
The theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, “Actions for Peace,” serves as a powerful call to action. It reminds us that peace is not merely an abstract concept but a tangible goal that requires our collective effort and commitment. It compels us to move beyond words and promises and to actively work together to build a more resilient, harmonious, and inclusive world.
The roundtable forum convened under the theme, “Achieving Social Cohesion: The Role of Inclusive Governance in Kaduna State.”
The event attracted past and present appointed government officials, party stakeholders, religious and traditional leaders, academicians, and CSOs, and included men, women, and youth from various walks of life. Fr. John Bagobiri welcomed participants and explained the event saying, “Though the day’s focus globally is Actions for Peace; Our Ambition for the Global Goals, our actions must start from home, which is Kaduna state. This is why our conversation shall be narrowed down to Achieving Social Cohesion: the Role of Inclusive Governance in Kaduna State.”
Fr. Bagobiri posited that social cohesion is the necessary condition for peace in any society and can only be built through inclusive governance where all people are fairly treated. He said Kaduna state is critical not just to Northern Nigeria but to the country as a whole. He called for sincerity of intent and purpose toward a peaceful, insightful, and pragmatic society-changing conversation.
Prof. Tukur Abdulkadir from the Department of Political Science at Kaduna State University delivered the International Day of Peace keynote address. Speaking through his representative, Mallam Bawa Wada, the university don who spoke on “Social Cohesion as a Tool for Peace,” said denial of basic life privileges and rights is responsible for the lack of social cohesion in our society and that inclusive governance is key to actualizing unity and peace. According to Prof. Tukur, justice and equity, which is the fulcrum upon which peace is built, cannot be attained with the attachment of political parties to sectarianism. He added that Nigerians can easily play into the hands of political opportunists through their actions and inactions. He encouraged the gathering first to liberate their hearts and minds from political opportunists, embrace and promote tolerance and mutual respect, and share and put people on the track of peace and adherence to the teachings of their respective religious books.
Adding their voices to the conversation were the former deputy governor of Kaduna state, a representative of a former governor of the state, former House of Assembly members in the state, the PDP Chairman and representative of the APC Chairman in the state, religious leaders, and several representatives of civil society organizations.
Dr. Edita Muhammad, a Senior Lecturer from the Department of Political Science at the IBB University Lapai delivered a keynote address at the symposium. He spoke on promoting peaceful coexistence on campus and in the community. There is no conflict that cannot be managed, he said, charging those in attendance to remain committed to peacebuilding because they will be major determinants of peace in the state.
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