Collins Nnabuife – Abuja
Peacebuilding organisation International Alert in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and The Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience OSPRE (National Early Warning Centre) has launched a new initiative to promote national stability, dialogue and reduce violence around the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
This is part of the UK Conflict Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) supported “Promoting Stability, Access to Justice, and Accountability in North-West Nigeria: Samun Adalchi Shine Kwanciyar Hankali (Achieving Justice Promotes Stability)” Project.
Delegates from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the NOA, OSPRE, Security, academia, CSOs, the media, and voluntary and community organisations came together for the first National Stability Dialogue session to discuss how to promote social cohesion, cross-community collaboration, and peaceful democratic processes.
The 2023 Nigerian election has taken place amid intense rivalry and high tensions between the three major parties.
The religious and cultural identities of the candidates have divided the electorate, security challenges have been ever-present.
Direct post-election violence has not reached the levels seen in previous elections, but with the results being contested, experts fear that a trigger event could lead to more violence.
Delegates at the National Stability Dialogue aim to promote a vision of ‘positive peace’ which includes the promotion of justice, respect for democratic norms,
and greater social cohesion.
The National Stability Dialogue sessions will run every three months over the next year, with each event focusing on different thematic areas.
The first event will address the drivers of electoral violence and measures for demanding accountability from key political actors and Government institutions while assessing INEC’s role in protecting women, reviewing the impact of the elections on gender inclusion, and setting an agenda for advocacy campaigns for the gender and equal opportunity bill.
The International Alert Country Director Paul Nyulaku said “polarisation between social groups is a growing challenge in Nigeria. The incoming government must prioritise national reconciliation and seek to build broad support for democratic institutions and nonviolent conflict resolution.
“By promoting locally owned, women-led advocacy work, we hope the National Stability Dialogue project can help Nigeria along the path to a peaceful and prosperous
Mma Odi, General Secretary, Alliance for Credible Elections, who spoke at the event said “credible elections are the foundation of the legitimacy for democratic institutions.
“Analysis of the impact of violence on electoral process and the promotion of dialogue between communities can provide the foundation for peaceful elections going forward.
“We would like to thank the organisers and attendees for their commitment to this vital work.”
International Alert is a peacebuilding organisation working around the world to lay the foundations for lasting peace in communities affected by violent conflict.
Alert has been supporting peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Nigeria since 2011.
These efforts have focused on contributing to greater social cohesion through, for example, the reintegration of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence and children associated with armed groups.
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