Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP has called on religious bodies in the country to work together to ensure that all voters are empowered with enough information that will enable them to make wise choices and know the implications of letting their voices be heard.
The group, made up of over 120 Muslim and Christian leaders in the country, in a communique issued after a two-day meeting in Abuja by Dr. Yusuf Yakubu Arrigasiyu, Co-Chairman and Rev. Amos Kiri, Co-Chairman said everything must be done to prevent issues and situations that would polarize instead of leading to a consensus.
IDFP called on citizens of both religions to safeguard the elections by ensuring that matters are not exaggerated and reactions to ethnic tensions are proportional to the issues at hand so that peace would reign at every point.
“We must stand to safeguard the forth-coming election in the context of ethnoreligious sentiments by providing support and protection for those who are likely to be in the greatest need of assistance, particularly people living with disabilities,” the group said.
They called on leaders to take advantage of partnerships and effective collaborations with local communities that could help ensure and safeguard the 2023 general elections.
“Nigerians, especially politicians, should embrace love and patriotism for the country. We are encouraged to first see ourselves as Nigerian before we are identified with any political party, ethnic and religious group,” they added.
IDFP urged Nigerians to vote for candidates based on character, competence and capacity during elections for a progressive and peaceful Nigeria and called for the building of strong and resilient ethnoreligious structures that emphasizes religious harmony, inclusive leadership and social justice.
The group said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC must conduct adequate training on the use of the BVAS to their personnel and provide prompt alternatives to faulty BVAS where necessary.
And also called on religious leaders to preach peace and not divisions and hatred and Nigerians to reject every form of financial and material inducements for their votes.