By Olasunkanmi Onifade
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) Fellows Alumni, has urged political parties to enact no-violence policies to guide the conduct of their supporters.
The Public Relations Officer of KAICIID, Nigeria Fellows Alumni, Ms Stella Francis, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, on Saturday.
According to Francis, political parties and candidates should adopt the rhetoric that clearly states the objective of religious or ethnic elements and promote a position of no-violence electoral process in their campaigns.
“Violence leads to great destruction and losses, there can be no democracy without a violence-free and fair electoral process.
“Development begins and only remains where there is peace. Let us all take a stand on peace and a violent-free election, for it is our patriotic responsibility,” she said.
Francis said as the processes that essentially sustained democracy and democratic institutions, sometimes there could be a breaking point for violence.
She said it was important to remind Nigerians of the many disadvantages of violence; and also let them know that ensuring peace was fundamentally the obligation of all.
“Electoral violence can discourage citizens from voting, upset the legitimacy of a government, lead to loss of lives and properties and act as a long term source of disagreement
“Nigeria in recent times has been faced with terrorist attacks, farmers and herdsmen conflicts and insurgence.
She noted that often times, some victims chose to see religion as a motivation for the perpetrators; and urged all stakeholders to avoid issues capable of heating the polity.
Francis said the operational dynamics and structural mechanism through which political parties operated would determine the success and realization of violent-free polls.
NAN reports that KAICIID is an international NGO, designed to promote dialogue across inter-religious and inter-cultural lines.
NAN also reports that the KAICIID fellows programme aims at empowering religious leaders to become active peacemakers in conflicts and divisions.