Sheik Hailru Abdullahi Maraya and Rev. John Joseph Hayab hosting a joint meeting with local leaders of Goska, Dangoma, Bakin Kogi and Ambam

While Nigeria is working to transition a new administration that began on May 29, 2023, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria has been tirelessly working behind the scenes to ensure peace before, during, and after election season. 

The country, like many around the world, faces tension during each election season. However, GPF Nigeria’s ongoing work to prevent election violence has significantly lowered violence, including retaliation violence, and encouraged peaceful dialogue among diverse communities.

GPF’s vision, “One Family under God,” is at the core of every gathering hosted by GPF Nigeria. One of the latest assemblies brought together faith leaders, traditional rulers, and prominent youth and women leaders for a forum titled “The Role of Faith Leaders in Dousing Post-Election Tension.”

Rev. John Joseph Hayab, the Country Director of GPF Nigeria, gave welcoming remarks and recognized the significance of the audience’s diversity, saying, “There are lots of misgivings, misconceptions and misrepresentations of issues, particularly in social media which are capable of hampering the peace we worked together to achieve before, during and after the elections.”

“Elections are not over in Nigeria until after the inauguration and conclusion of cases in the court,” said Rev. Hayab. He charged the clerics and other leaders present to actively participate in helping dispel tension and mitigate violence amongst their followers.

Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya, the Northern Coordinator of GPF Nigeria, stated that the 2023 general elections were one of the most peaceful in the last 100 years of Nigerian political record thanks to the hard work of all parties present at the peacebuilding forum. Sheik Maraya applauded religious leaders for not letting political agendas overtake their places of worship but instead encouraged people to uphold common values and the nation’s interests as a whole. “Regardless of religious leanings, faith leaders must accept that as humans, we are first, members of one family under God and do all they can to preach it,” Sheik Maraya said.

(Left) Rev. John Joseph Hayab and Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya (Right) greet participants at a post-election forum hosted by GPF Nigeria.

Alhaji Yusuf Muhammad, the Sa’en Lere, who is the representative of Kaduna State Traditional Council and joint Patron of the KSPMC, and Rev. Bitrus Dangiwa, the Co-Chairman of KSPMC emphatically sounded in their separate remarks that Kaduna State Peace and Mediation Committee is one of the best things that has ever happened to Kaduna state. Alhaji Yusuf said, “The last election is the most peaceful I have witnessed in my life as an electorate in this country. It was relatively peaceful, particularly in Kaduna state, and thanks to the effort of GPF Nigeria.” He further pointed out that war and crisis begin from something small, so the Nigerian people must not give it a chance. He agreed with other speakers saying, “Religious leaders must set the standard and live by example. Do all you can and ensure you disseminate what we discuss here in your various churches and mosques.”

People across faith and denomination embraced the message of peace at the forum, pledging to work towards a peaceful transition during the administration turnover.

GPF Nigeria continues to advocate for community-driven peacebuilding through Peace and Reconciliation Committees around the country. Groups like the Lapai Peace and Reconciliation Committee are expanding sub-committees to address specific needs such as “Research, Quick Response, and Mediation.” Peace and Reconciliation Committees also conduct training programs for volunteers and are the planners for peace festivals that will be held throughout the coming year.

The original post appears on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God.  GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peacebuilding models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is the founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.