Nigerian Election and Peace Linguistics

Nigeria is awaiting the result of the national elections, and the situation is already heated. FAR-LeaF fellow Dr Hauwa Mohammed Sani recently presented on citizens’ rights to participate in peaceful and violence-free elections in Nigeria. She referred to violence frequently trailing Nigerian elections since independence in 1964 were marred by irregularities. This resulted in violence that claimed several lives and destroyed property.

She believes that a liberal democracy entails a highly inclusive level of political involvement in selecting leaders and supporting national policies through regular and fair elections so that no significant adult social group is excluded. In her view, everyone becomes an agent of peace. She further highlighted the critical role of religious leaders in the peace process.

“Religious leaders are well-positioned to mobilise stakeholders and engage in efforts to counter violence and promote peace. They promote a shared and respected set of values and have unique leverage as spiritual leaders; they understand the local context, are present in local communities and have strong and established networks. They can reach most illiterate Nigerians living in rural areas to promote the concept of peaceful elections.”

Although Nigeria is not at war, it is far from violence-free.


Social media could be perceived as both a blessing and a curse during elections. Proper online and offline communication should be important to Nigerian citizens and netizens to enhance peaceful elections and curb electoral violence in pursuit of democratic governance. She says that peace education and proper communication can serve as a counterforce to violence.

Earlier this month, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) organised a significant event with its partners: the King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS). Religious organisations, security agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations, and research institutions were represented at the event.

Article submitted by Hauwa Sani

 

The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.