Post 2023 Elections: Peace-For-Free Campaign Hits Kaduna
A Civil Society Organisation called Peace For Free Initiative on Saturday takes its post 2023 elections peace lecture series to hundreds of young persons in Kaduna State.
A senior Lecturer in the Mass Communication Department, Nasarawa State University, Professor Anthony Igyuve appealed to Nigerians to put the elections behind them and join hands to build a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
The varsity don, who spoke as guest speaker at the launch of the “Peace-for-Free” lecture series in Kaduna argued that his position was premised on the fact that what people may see as worse democracy is better than the best of military rule, hence the need to eschew violence and embrace peace through dialogue or legal means with one another.
According to him, “our democracy and elections are revolving and that is why we need to be a credible part of that process so that at the end of the day, we can be proud that we have contributed to democracy sustainability because the worse democracy is better than best military rule.
“So in essence, what we have tried to convey to the people of Kaduna state is a simple message that elections are over and it is now time to build our country, and the people they have elected as their representatives should be allowed to serve and deliver on their electoral promises which can only be done in the atmosphere of peace.
“We have targeted young persons in this peace campaign series because they are the tools some politicians are using to disrupt societal peace.
“So, once they have the understanding of a peaceful atmosphere as peace ambassadors, then, those using them to cause violence will have no option but to use legal means to seek redress”, he said.
In an interview with newsmen on the sideline of the campaign, Founder and Convener, Peace For Free Initiative, Chris Oge Kalu said the peace campaign was a fallout of the 2023 rounds of elections.
“As we all know, a lot of people claimed that the process was marred with a lot of irregularities and all that. So, as a civil society organisation, we quickly moved in to engage the people, especially youth, and ask them to eschew violence and toll the part of peace.
“This is a national peace campaign. We started the campaign in Asaba, Delta State, Lagos in Lagos State, Abakalii, Ebonyi State, Maiduguri, Borno State. We are now in Kaduna from where we will be moving to Jos, plateau state.
“No matter what, there is always a way to address our differences whether through dialogue or judicial process. So, we need to trust the process because we are one. Peace is not the absence of conflict.
“What that means is that we should have in mind that violence cannot achieve anything tangible for us. It can only disrupt a process we have been learning since we returned to democracy in 1999. So, we need to learn it with due diligence to ensure we have a good democracy at the end of the day”, he said.
The gathering, which is majorly young persons had earlier identified injustice, bridge of agreement, unforgiven spirit, fake news, hate speech and nepotism, lack of tolerance, inequality between the rich and the poor in the society, ignorance, religious bigotry, illiteracy, and tribalism as some of the factors responsible for post-election violence.
The gathering however described forgiveness, respect for the rule of law, prayers for Nigeria and its leaders, patriotism, avoidance of spreading of fake news, dialogue, building peace and education, and legal redress in court instead of taking the laws into their hands, as ways forward.