Peaceful Coexistence is Everyone’s Responsibility

Robin McDonough
October 24, 2023

The Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria One Family Under God (OFUG) Campaign for Peaceful Coexistence continues its radio campaign initiated in May 2023, broadcasting two weekly 30-minute live programs via Eagles FM Abuja, Invicta Radio, and Liberty Radio Kaduna. Reverend John Joseph Hayab, country director for GPF Nigeria, directs the ongoing campaign that reaches over three million people of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds across the eight states of Kaduna, Nassarawa, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Katsina, Bauchi States, and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Volunteer guest speakers participated in several programs during August and September 2023 to examine assorted peacebuilding topics on a journey to attain peaceful coexistence. The prevailing theme during the two-month period centered on how peaceful coexistence is everyone’s responsibility regardless of individual or group differences. Topics related to this unifying message included respecting boundaries, using the strength of diversity to unite people, stakeholder collaboration to attain a peaceful society, and equity, fairness, and justice as the bedrock for peace.

Three people sitting at a table in a radio studio exemplify peaceful coexistence.

Mercy Auta, Joseph Jireh, and Iheanacho Prince at Eagle FM

The sixteenth program of the campaign aired in mid-August with guest speakers from the Christian Association of Nigeria and Jamatu Nasril Islam at Kaduna and GPF Nigeria representatives at Eagles FM Abuja. The guests recognized Nigeria’s rich and diverse religious and cultural environment while acknowledging that it is crucial to maintain a balance between respecting individual religious freedom and working together to maintain peaceful coexistence and social cohesion. According to Linda James, who called in from Jere, “The fact that we can find both Christians and Muslims within the same family shows that we can actually live together.”

Another program called on stakeholders to collaborate to create a peaceful society. Guest speakers emphasized the critical need for a platform where stakeholders from all backgrounds can engage in meaningful dialogue, build trusting relationships, and jointly develop initiatives to unite communities in peacebuilding activities. A regular program follower, James Bawa, agreed with the guests that peace is everyone’s responsibility.

Recognizing the need for equity, fairness, and justice as the bedrock for peace, a program aired in mid-September to define and discuss the three terms and their importance in achieving peaceful coexistence. GPF Nigeria representative Auta Mercy said that equity is based on individual differences and providing what is fair and just based on those differences, while fairness is based on treating everyone without bias, prejudice, or favoritism. According to Abdul Ahmed, the program manager of GPF Nigeria, in its broader sense, justice is based on rules common to all humanity that emerge out of some consensus. He stated, “Justice is the cornerstone of a stable society.” All guests agreed that without equity, fairness, and justice, peace will not be achieved. They called on the government to distribute its amenities, appointments, and employment

without bias or prejudice and on individuals to engage in legitimate means when demanding equity and fairness.

While the programs broadcast in August and September focused on assorted topics, the underlying premise was that everyone has a peacebuilding role and responsibility for achieving peaceful coexistence regardless of cultural, religious, or ethnic background. Diversity among individuals provides the fundamental strength and capability for everyone to bring forth different ideas, collaborate on a framework, and develop an action plan to achieve peace for the entire community.

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