Rev. John Joseph Hayab, the Country Director, Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, GPFN, has reached out to Nigerians.
He enjoined Nigerians to join hands to halt electoral violence in the 2023 elections in whatever form it appears.
He lamented that the record of attacks on security and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, facilities in some parts of the country is a manifestation of election-related violence, saying that it appears to be on the path to overtaking the heights electoral violence has reached and needs to be stopped.
Speaking at the formal inauguration of Kaduna State and mediation working committee in Kaduna on Thursday, the Country Director said, “Without being pessimistic, the record of cases of attacks on security and INEC facilities in some parts of the country, a manifestation of election-related violence, appears to be on the path to overtaking the heights electoral violence has reached and needs to be stopped. It is, therefore, rational that we join hands with intensive efforts to halt electoral violence in the 2023 elections in whatever form it appears.”
He added that it needs to be emphasized that while the long-awaited 2023 general election is here, what is essential is for Nigerians to swing into action towards ensuring all forms of electoral violence are mitigated in Kaduna State and beyond.
Sadly, he opined that electoral violence, as records have shown, has increased in Nigeria, with twice as many elections-related fatalities in 2022 compared to 2019.
According to him, the onerous task ahead is to work to safeguard a violence-free election and mitigate triggers to electoral violence in Kaduna State, given the sad history of massive losses associated with election violence.
Hayab enjoined the members of the committee to see their inauguration as an opportunity to serve on the Kaduna State Peace and Mediation Committee, KSPMC, which requires a high level of commitment and sacrifice.
He noted that electoral violence is an issue of grave concern to every well-meaning and peace-loving Nigerian because, as seen over the years, it is potent with colossal impact with a high propensity to take diverse forms, spread and escalate beyond politics.
He explained that it is known to deepen ethnic, religious and regional grievances, thereby setting the stage for more conflict if not allayed. He added that it was why they must not relent in their efforts to stop violence associated with elections.
Hayab stated that Kaduna has recorded violence associated with elections recently but has a high potential for mass mobilization, as reported by INEC.
He expressed delight that there is an increase in voter registration indicative of growing interest in electoral participation, particularly by the young, who are regrettably the chief weapons often engaged in committing electoral violence.