By Naomi MacMurdie
Some 650 youth participated in an online program to promote a peaceful election process in Nigeria. Hosted by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria in collaboration with the Centre for Peace Advocacy and Sustainable Development (CEPASD), the webinar was conducted under the theme, “Youth Voices against Electoral Violence” on June 28, 2022. The virtual program aimed to encourage and challenge Nigerian youth to become advocates for a peaceful electoral process in 2023.
Keynote speakers highlighted youth voices against electoral violence and misinformation and the vital role young people play in curbing electoral violence.
The Country Director of GPF Nigeria, Rev. Joseph Hayab, encouraged the young voters to choose their leaders wisely during the election, emphasizing a focus on the candidates’ track records, integrity, and performance. Northern Coordinator for GPF Nigeria, Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya, served as one of the speakers at the event, sharing on both violence between political parties as well as electoral violence within a political party. “Electoral violence has been the greatest obstacle to democratic rule in our country, Nigeria, and many other sub-Saharan African countries,” said Sheikh Maraya, “While electoral violence is caused by illiteracy, ethnicity, impunity, unemployment… We can eradicate this through education, employment, and fighting against impunity.”
The Executive Director of Peace Education and Practice Network (PEPNET Nigeria), Mr. Moses Segun Abolade, spoke on “The Role of Youths in Curbing Electoral Violence.” Calling their ability to vote their power, Mr. Abolade added that youth had been the target of extremist groups who have used them as foot soldiers in electoral violence since 1999. He reinforced that young people should not “be deceived by politicians who give title token and drag them into electoral violence for selfish interests.”
Mrs. Christie Demvihin Geoge, the Founder and CEO of Raising Hope for the Woman and Child (R.H.W.C), called on religious institutions, media, schools, and NGOs to work together to educate and disseminate pertinent election information to people at a grassroots level.
Speakers and participants remarked that steps to move forward might include a bill consisting of peacebuilding as part of the academic curriculum while using the media to advocate for peace education in Nigerian schools.
Mr. Augustine Igweshi, the Executive Director for the Center for Peace Advocacy and Sustainable Development, closed the event by charging Nigerian youth to do all they can to achieve peaceful elections in 2023 by encouraging other youth to gain moral and innovative leadership skills and engage in peaceful dialogue in their communities.
Learn more about our peacebuilding programs in Nigeria.