The Kaduna State Peace Comission, on Thursday cautioned political parties’ flagbearers and other political actors to avoid using provocative languages and negative profiling before, during and after the 2023 elections.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Comission, Dr. Saleh Momale, made the call at a high level meeting of political parties, candidates and stakeholders for peaceful campaigns and elections in Kaduna State.
The theme of the meeting was “Building Consensus and Mobilising Collective Action for Peaceful 2023 General Elections in Kaduna State.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was organised by the Kaduna State Peace Commission and the Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women and other key stakeholders.
It was supported by ActionAid Nigeria through the “We You Project” and the SARVE III Project as well as Christian Aid.
Momale said history of elections in Nigeria’s democratic governments had been challenged with the use of provocative languages, negative profiling and the occasional use of
He stated the challenges were part of reasons for the repeated failures of previous democratic attempts in the country, resulting in the interference of the military in the
affairs of political governance.
He, however, said that since 1999, the current democratic process was gaining sustained resilience in the management of political disputes, and the country gradually establishing a mature political culture.
“This is the result of collective commitment of all political parties and candidates, especially in the recent years, as well as the support received from various national and international organisations in supporting peaceful democratic processes,” he said.
Also, Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Chairman of the Commission, said process of contests among aspirants within same and different political parties was characterised by aggression and violent conduct, common throughout the
He noted that in the quest to limit people’s choices, many countries constrained democratic
space by adopting monarchical system of leadership with life tenures for leaders and/or single political party democracy.
Idowu-Fearon, however, noted that in Nigeria and many countries in Africa, multi-party system had been adopted.
He said this allowed pluralism which opened up opportunities for eligible citizens to aspire to leadership positions at all levels of governance.
He called for reflection, through Kaduna State, which was among the administrative entities in the country that had suffered from upheavals associated with politically induced violence.
He called on political actors and stakeholders to embrace best democratic values by respecting dignity of the human and eschew provocation and hate speech.
Earlier, the Acting Governor of Kaduna state, Hajiya Hadiza Balarabe, said the gathering justified that the state was asserting its leadership position in the country.
She said the state was also demonstrating the unwavering commitment of its citizens towards peaceful and harmonious coexistence.
She said the meeting had affirmed the collective resolve of the state’s political stakeholders to pursue their ambitions without recourse to provocation, intimidation, incitement and other negative tendencies that could lead to disturbance of
public peace and social order.
“All these initiatives are intended to create awareness, mobilise the citizenry and provide level playing ground for peaceful campaigns
and elections,” she said.
Balarabe further said the commitment made by the politicians should be transmitted to party members and supporters through vigorous enlightenment and by the examples that leaders showed in their conducts.
“It is important to note that careful attention has to be made to the messages posted and shared on the social media which is more ubiquitous and therefore, more potent than the traditional campaign.
“The impression of
anonymity that most of the social media use seems to encourage certain types of excess of intolerance, misinformation, hate speech and sometimes dangerous incitements,”she said.
She urged law enforcement agencies on the need to monitor such excesses, while calling on political parties, leaders and candidates to enlighten their supporters on the need for responsible speech and conducts.
Also, Mr. Celestine Okwudili, the ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) Governance Programme Manager, said the meeting was targeted at addressing (in the short term) issues that posed threats to peace and security.
He explained that in such public event, political parties and candidates would be tasked with embracing each other and signing of commitment to peaceful elections in the presence of their supporters and the public.
“This is geared towards achieving tangible and sustainable improvements towards a peaceful election in the state by influencing positive behavioural change amongst youths and other vulnerable groups likely to engage in acts of violence during the elections,”Okwudili said
He urged citizen to make use of the opportunity provided by INEC under the Electoral Act 2022, to make their participation count in the forth-coming elections through the collection of their PVCs, and voting for their preferred candidates.
Religious, traditional and youth leaders, civil society organisations, security and law enforcement agencies attended the event.
Political parties and candidates vying for the various elective positions signed commitments to peaceful campaigns and elections.(NAN)