The National Stakeholders dialogue for Peaceful and Violence free 2019 General Election held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja on Monday 21st January, 2019, brought together stakeholders from across Government, Military and para-military personnel, members of the civil society and political parties and the international community to dialogue on the importance of ensuring a peaceful and violence free 2019 General elections.
Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, while welcoming dignitaries and participants to the dialogue, reiterated the relevance of the event in fostering a peaceful and violence free 2019 general election. He also highlighted the ongoing programs of the agency in propagating this message across all Local Government Areas of the Federation.
Chief host and Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, who was ably represented by Director Information Technology, Mrs. Comfort Ajiboye, in his remarks expressed his enthusiasm on the dialogue. He stated that the stakeholders’ interface could not have come at a better time with the 2019 General election kick starting in a few weeks. He added that the dialogue for a peaceful and violence free election is reverberating all through the policies and programs of the Ministry and its parastatals.
The Honourable Minister appealed to the dramatis personae in the forthcoming election to preach to their supporters, in words and deeds, the dangers of violence and the gains of peaceful conduct before, during and after the elections. He reassured participants of the President’s efforts to ensure a free and fair 2019 election.
The Chairman, Prof. Tonnie Iredia, in his speech, also emphasized the relevance of the dialogue but expressed his displeasure at the absence of the members of political parties. He stated that peace pre-supposes justice and that the message of impartiality must be preached to our leaders. He advised that all stakeholders especially those at the grassroot level must be carried along in the campaign.
Good will messages were presented by the representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Adebayo Shittu, representatives of Chief of Defence Staff, Controller General of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, National Security Adviser, Department of State Security, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
Mr. Bongus Ikwue who is also an ambassador of peace, entertained the audience with some of his inspirational songs including the popularly known “Cock crow at dawn”.
The opening ceremony ended with the vote of thanks which was presented by the Secretary of the planning committee. A break was observed after which the technical sessions began. The first technical paper titled “Nigeria’s 2019 General Elections: Issues and Challenges to Peace” was presented by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the second titled Election Security in Nigeria: Duties and Obligations” by IGP Mike Okiro (Rtd.), former Inspector General of Police.