Civil Societies legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) recently announced a joint a new joint initiative, the “No War Coalition”, to deescalate emerging threats and provide early warning monitoring framework for Nigeria’s peace. Ms. Ogechi of PRAWA emphasized the need for mobilizing people and raising awareness for safety; while Mallam Rafsanjani insisted the political class should be disallowed from using youths for war.
Political and social analysts have attributed the recent call by sections of Arewa Consultative Forum Youth Caucus for the emigration of people who are of Ibo extraction, from the Northern part of Nigeria, as a masterstroke signaling the onset of active unofficial electioneering campaign for the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Indeed, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, earlier in the year, announced a provisional timetable for the election; notwithstanding possible Constitutional amendments and anticipated amendments to the electoral laws.
Given the credible speculations over President Buhari’s health and likelihood to not contest for reelection, the political permutations of the entire Northern regions have assumed frenzied proportions; and several gladiators across all divides are focused on ensuring no usurper from the Southern region emerge as the next President of Nigeria. This makes the incessant threat of war real and plausible.
While analyzing the context of present war chants, Rafsanjani noted that “youths are involved in war threats because of collapse of governance. The political class act as predators feeding on the youths, failed to create empowering systems for young people at all levels, and have conspired to perpetuate looting of public funds”.
He further noted the absence of accountability and equity in the redistribution of public wealth, and lamented over deliberate attempts to “undermine the development of young people so they could have trouble getting education and business financing among other needful support”.
The “No War Coalition” initiative is focused channeling communications and youthful energy towards actions that could prevent war and eliminate the need for post-war humanitarian services. Given that all efforts focused on peace building also impact on democracy and security sector, the need for a clear cut penetration and stakeholder’s management strategy on the “No War Coalition” is important.
CISLAC and PRAWA should be commended for present accomplishments. However, there is a need to create a multi-sector synergy that uses available media space to push useful messages across vital channels. While civil societies and institutional development partners may be able to successfully implement programs, the implications of war for Nigerians demand that opportunities for participation in such laudable initiatives be made available all stakeholders across the public and private sectors.