In Nigeria, violence in election has remained a key barrier to youth participation in the political process especially as candidates and as voters. Electoral violence occurs at all the stages of electioneering process including before, during and after elections.
To foster non-violent elections in the lead up to the 2015 national elections and subsequent off cycle elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states, the campaign has coordinated grass root outreach programs such as roadshows, radio and television programs, town hall meetings, meetings with dominant political party members and other community influencers to spread the message of non-violent elections. The outreaches targeted most at risk youth such as University students and national Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) who could be hired to perpetuate violence before and during the election. The campaign gathered public endorsements from prominent figures including party officials and traditional leaders through its outreach activities and young people across the nation signed on to a non-violence pledge. In 2015 Kogi and Bayelsa gubernatorial elections, the campaign developed state specific youth policy agendas.
The outreaches targeted most at risk youth such as University students and national Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) who could be hired to perpetuate violence before and during the election
NDI partnered with YDI, Nigerian music icon 2face Idibia’s 2face Foundation and several community-based organizations (CBOs) to conduct the “Vote Not Fight: Election no be war” (VNF) campaign. The campaign reached an estimated 6 million Twitter feeds through the hashtag #votenotfight, gathered more than 100,000 likes on the campaign Facebook page and reached approximately 62,874,034 individuals through radio based on listener-ship figures for the states where the programs aired.’ NDI and its partners trained local youth groups and peace ambassadors on voter education and peace messaging campaign.
VNF collaborated with different groups to ensure success. Beside the collaboration with 2face Idibia Foundation, it also built partnerships amongst NDI, SFCG and BBC Media which facilitated the organization of Nigeria’s first national Media Peace Day on March 27, 2015 under the auspices of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON). Participating radio and television stations dedicated their programming throughout the day to peace messaging with the goal of promoting violence-free elections on March 28. This initiative marked the first time that a coordinated message was so widely distributed on the African continent, and the first time that Nigeria’s broadcasters united behind a common theme. The Media Peace day initiative was also replicated in Kogi 2016, Bayelsa 2016, Edo 2016, Ondo 2016 and Anambra 2017 off cycle gubernatorial elections to mitigate violence.