2023 Poll: JODER to host conflict prevention strategy summit
As part of plans to mitigate against violence during the forthcoming general election, the Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) is proposing a constructive engagement summit for stakeholders in Lagos.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Adewale Adeoye, JODER said the meeting would bring together youth leaders of strategic ethnic and community-based groups, including labour and the media to work out peace building and conflict prevention module.
“Elections in Nigeria are associated with conflict, civil society groups have important roles to play in peace building. The media in particular is key to setting agenda for prosperity before, during and after the elections,” he said.
The summit will draw participants from major ethnic and socio cultural groups with focal points on youth driven organisations.
JODER said the one-day summit would develop a common framework for youth leaders of critical organisations to mobilise their members against violence, ethnic and religious conflicts.
“Nigerians are organised along several non-formal institutions. Any time there’s conflict, these groups are vulnerable, and they can be manipulated by political actors. By bringing the groups together, JODER hopes to strengthen the existing network in rural communities for collective action against violence.”
The media group said from experience, Nigerians are anxious to live in peace, but are also at the mercy of political actors who see violence as the most potent weapon of expression.
He regretted that even though the summit will not hold across the country, or on a regional scale thereby limiting its national impact, he however, said JODER has identified flash points in some parts of the country where constructive engagements of stakeholders that will help in mitigating violence.
“We believe the prevention of conflict in these areas will have chain impact on the wellbeing of the country at large.”
He noted that as the 2023 elections draw near, the country has become more fragile. “Some of the most outstanding presidential candidates represent the four largest ethnic groups, there is also a religious dimension to the election. The civil society engagement is necessary to set the agenda for peaceful co-existence among Nigeria’s diverse groups,” he said.
The group noted that certain politicians continue to fan the flame of division through their actions and utterances, making the election to look like war. ‘The rhetoric of violence dominates the mainstream and social media. We need to change this narrative, the people should be energised for collective, rural and urban solidarity against violence.”
JODER said it looks forward to a series of pre and post election activities including but not limited to training, distribution of advocacy materials, advocacy visits, radio and social media messaging, the strengthening of existing of network of peace advocates and monitors to drive the compelling force of peace and conflict prevention in the country.