by Naomi MacMurdie
Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria launched a radio program in Abuja on October 6, 2022, reaching one million people in Nasarawa, Kaduna, Niger, and Kogi States. The ongoing program aims to help provide the public with education on peaceful electoral processes in anticipation of the 2023 general election.
The 30-minute episodes are hosted weekly by GPF Nigeria Country Director, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, and Program Manager, Mr. Abdul Ahmed, who share GPF’s values-based approach to mitigating identity-based conflict. They are able to discuss real-world examples through the significant transformation GPF Nigeria has made in building peace through a grassroots network of leaders across the country.
Over the weeks, GPF Nigeria has welcomed various guests from different ethnic and religious backgrounds onto the radio program. One week, two guests, Imam Shafi’u Abdulkarim and Rev. Fr. Steven Ojakpa, joined the program to speak on how religion is used by some politicians to polarize people and win the election. They encouraged listeners not to vote based on religious affiliation but to challenge political leaders and elect them based on credibility and competence. Together, they emphasized that both Islam and Christianity do not sanction the use of violence before, during, or after an election.
Another episode featured “The Role of Youth in a Violence-Free Election,” in which youth leader Rimpyen Danjuma called on young people to refuse to be “tools and instruments in the hands of selfish politicians.” Young voters make up a significant percentage of the voting population and therefore play a critical role not just in number, but in fostering tolerance and harmony in their communities between opposing parties.
Guests also shared practical applications such “Non-violent communication as a tool for peaceful electoral processes.” Ahmadu Shettima, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of GPF Nigeria and Solomon Kingson, with GPF Nigeria Media and Communications, spoke to the importance of calm and compassionate dialogue surrounding political topics. “If we must contribute to any discussion, our words must be such that build bridges, not pull people down,” said Solomon, “We can disagree on who to support but never should we be violent in expressing our disagreements.”
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