Guber Polls: Peace Committee Begins Engagement With Political Gladiators In Edo, Ondo

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The National Peace Committee (NPC) has said it will have a series of meetings with political actors in the 2024 off-season elections in Edo and Ondo States.
Fr. Atta Barkindo, head of secretariat of NPC and Executive Director of The Kukah Centre, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja on the sideline of a one-day conference with youths, women and persons with disabilities.
He said the conference is not just targeting the 2027 general election but starting with the off-circle elections, adding that they would give an indication of what to expect in 2027.
“We have independent peace architectures in some of these states (conducting off-cycle elections)… We are talking to critical stakeholders. We are using back-channel negotiations, reminding people of the importance of peace.
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“Our biggest concern right now is how to engage the political parties because they are essential. How they mobilise their followers, what they tell their followers, how they use social media, the kind of narratives (they dish out) form the mindset of the voters and what happens on that day.
“So, we are engaging very strongly with the political parties to ensure that the process is hitch-free.
“Most times, it’s a spillover from unresolved conflict within a particular political party. Once they are not resolved, it spilt over to the general and the off-cycle election. We are already engaging them in Edo and Ondo and we are all preparing for Anambra, Osun and Ekiti,” he said.
The conference with participants from across the country is aimed at strengthening the intervention of youths, women and persons with disabilities and create effective strategies to improve collaboration with relevant key stakeholders.
It also geared towards collating feedback from key stakeholders on the electoral processes and make recommendations to the NPC for future interventions.
“What we did was to mobilise and set up what we call the Independent State-based Peace architectures in 15 states and we identify influential and respected people in those states that are not partisan, maintained their objectivity and neutrality.
“Their job is to help intervene and support peace processes in those states on issues of conflict that may be related or unrelated to elections.
“We have gotten more support to expand this initiative to the 36 states including the FCT,” Fr. Barkindo added.
He said the peace initiative began in the build up to the 2015 presidential election when the tension between the then-incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan and the Presidential candidate of the APC, Muhammad Buhari was high.



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