HomeABUJA2023 NIGERIAN POLLS: Religious Leaders Urge Parties, Politicians To Dismantle Violence Machineries

2023 NIGERIAN POLLS: Religious Leaders Urge Parties, Politicians To Dismantle Violence Machineries

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Sorely worried about the negative impact of such aberrant machineries on Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections, the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) has urged political parties and their candidates to dismantle all structures that entrench electoral violence.

The IDPF Co-Chairmen, Bishop Sunday Onuoha and Alhaji Kunle Sanni -Ishaq, made the call at the forum’s Fifth General Assembly, on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

They noted that the country was already faced with lots of issues threatening peaceful coexistence, as such political actors must embrace peace.

Onuoha particularly urged Nigerians to save the country from all forms of crisis by stopping the spread of division and focusing on promoting unity and peace.

“Unity, peace and love is all we need in this election season for the overall development of the country,’’ he added.

On his part Sanni-Ishaq said Nigerians should eschew violence, discrimination and hatred and play politics without bitterness.

According to him, achieving true peace entails much more than mere speculations on what needs to be done to change the situation around insecurity and hate speeches.

“True peace requires building a nation where all citizens feel they can flourish and are free to live harmoniously,’’ he said.

Mr. Agustin Nunez-Vicandi of the KAICIID Dialogue Centre, said the forum should continue to push for free and fair elections, and work to increase confidence in Nigeria’s political system.

He said that religious leaders should work to alleviate and heal the fragmentation in the country and build peaceful coexistence among all citizens.

In a paper, Most Reverend Benebo Fubara-Manuel said that ethnic and religious issues were part of the lives of Nigerians.

Fubara-Manuel said: “They define our identity but should not cause us to live in conflict with one another.

“As people of faith, we are to ensure that we do all we can to safeguard the 2023 elections, taking seriously the principles of empowerment, prevention, proportionality, protection, partnership and accountability.’’

In another paper, Dr. Saidu Ahmed-Dukawa of Bayero University Kano said that Nigerians should exploit the positivity in the country’s religious and ethnic diversity.

He said that individuals, groups and institutions need to do the needful in order to safeguard the forthcoming elections.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Dr. Sa`ad Abubakar, urged Nigerians to work hard to achieve sustainable peace in the country.

The Sultan, who is the IDFP Grand Patron, said that Nigerians must collectively work for peace, security and unity of the country.

“We should support movements towards unity in diversity everywhere in our country as peace ambassadors.

“We call on the people of Nigeria and state actors to work hard to achieve sustainable peace among the citizens in Nigeria,’’ he added.

Abubakar, who was represented by the Director, Administration, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Haruna Zubairu, also advised Nigerians to conduct themselves with decorum during the forthcoming elections.

The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Juan Ignatius, advised Nigerians to lead by example and conduct themselves well during the elections.

“We all have a role to play in fostering peace and tackling ethnic and religious intolerance,” he said.

A number of other stakeholders spoke in a similar vein, calling for peaceful elections in the country.

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