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2023: Media group sets for conflict prevention strategy summit

 By-Bola Badmus- Lagos

Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, a media group, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), on Friday disclosed that youth leaders of ethnic, religious and community- based associations are expected to meet in Lagos before the February 25 presidential poll, to work out peace building and conflict prevention module.

JODER made this disclosure in a statement issued by Mr. Adewale Adeoye, copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lagos, saying that the parley would bring together youth leaders of strategic ethnic and community based groups, including labour and the media for the set- goal.

This was just as JODER noted that elections in Nigeria were associated with conflict, saying that civil society groups, therefore, had important roles to play in peace building, while, according to him, “the media in particular is key to setting agenda before, during and after the elections.”

“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,” JODER said.

Speaking further, JODER said the 1-day summit would develop a common framework for youth leaders of critical organizations to mobilize their members against violence, ethnic and religious conflict, noting that these groups  were vulnerable, any time there was conflict, as “they can be manipulated by political actors.”

“Nigerians are organized along several non-formal institutions. Any time there’s conflict, these groups are vulnerable, 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,” it said.

The media group said from experience, Nigerians were anxious to live in peace but were also at the mercy of political actors who found violence as the most potent weapon of expression.

The group regretted that though, the summit would not hold across the country or on a regional scale limiting its national impact, but, however, said it had identified flash points in some parts of the country where constructive engagement of the stakeholders was expected to mitigate against violence.

“We believe the prevention of conflict in these areas will have chain impact on the wellbeing of the country at large.

“The rhetoric of violence dominate the mainstream and social media. We need to change this narrative, the people should be energized for collective, rural and urban solidarity against violence,” the media group noted.

JODER, however, 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 Nigeria.”




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