International Alert Nigeria, an international development organization with a mission for peace building across divides in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and The Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience – OSPRE (National Early Warning Centre) has launched a National Stability Dialogue to promote post-election dialogue among key stakeholders on building stability, justice, and gender inclusion.
The dialogue which was launched in Abuja yesterday by Gen. Martin Luther-Agwai (Rtd) Former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) aims at bringing the people together to promote peace during and after the elections towards engendering national stability, justice and inclusion.
According to Paul Nyulaku, Country Director, International Alert Nigeria, “the 2023 elections in Nigeria are a potential trigger point for violence in a country already facing growing polarisation. Therefore, it is crucial that we should be mindful that what keep us together as a people does not bring separation amongst us.”
“First series of this National Stability dialogue deliberately focuses on electoral violence, dissatisfaction of the electorate with conduct of the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections and the emerging tensions being experienced as a result and essentially how we can deal with them”.
He emphasised that pervasive gender inequality, ethnic and religious tension are also part of the issues that have been identified and bedeviling the resilient factors that help to keep us together as a nation.
Nyalaku added that, to ensure fair political settlement in post election period, the incoming government must prioritise national reconciliation and seek to build broad support for democratic institutions and non-violent conflict resolution.
Speaking at the event, Rtd Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai, stated that the National Stability Dialogue was quite timely and critical current national issues in order to right the wrong within the political space through dialogue like this, and to collectively deal with major challenges that may threaten the peace and stability of our nation during and post-elections period.
Agwai further identified gender issues as another issue to be prioritised during the dialogue “According to him, we have neglected our mothers for too long. And we must ensure we bring the challenges and issues facing women within the political sphere to table in order to address them.”
Ene Obi, ActionAid Nigeria, Country Director while giving her goodwill messages stressed the need to get young Nigerians and women into decision making positions without any form of violence, discrimination and harassment. “Violence against the women in Nigeria is real and we have tons of statistics to show for this” she said.
Obi added that we must strive to change the narrative of the young Nigerians. The young people of Nigeria are our heritage and they must treated with respect and not to be giving arms to be killing themselves.
She however, called for transparency and accountability on the part of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the umpire of these 2023 elections.
“Already Nigerians are going into the Gubernatorial elections with mixed feelings. And we hope INEC will wake up and do the right thing this time because we are ready to hold them accountable for whatever irregularity that may occur” she stated.