By Odo Ogenyi,Uyo
The founder of Uyo Book Club, a well known Mass Communication scholar, Dr. Udeme Nana and the Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom Branch and Publisher of Radar Newspaper, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, have been elected the Chairman and Secretary, respectively, of the National Peace Committee (NPC) in Akwa Ibom State.
The event which took place at the Havilah Towers Hotel, Uyo was conducted by the National Peace Committee, The Kukah Centre, Abuja, led by its Executive Director & Head of Secretariat, Rev. Fr. Atta Barkindo represented by the Policy Advisor, Barr. Saka Azimazi accompanied by the Project Officer,
Mr. Emmanuel Nkanta and other officials.
Barkindo in his welcome address and Discussion on the setting up of the Independent State-Based Peace Architecture in Akwa Ibom State gave a brief update/overview of the National Peace Committee.
The National Peace Committee, according to him, is a non-governmental initiative conceptualized in 2014 in response to emerging threats of violence during general elections in the country. It is an institution made up of eminent statesmen who undertake the efforts to support free, fair and credible elections as well as intervene in critical issues of national concern.
The National Peace Committee is an independent non-profit peace initiative. It is a neutral institution that does not support, endorse, or campaign for any political party or candidate.
The body envisages a Nigeria that is built on Peace, Justice, and Equality, where every citizen has the right to democratic participation and can live freely in any part of the country, contributing to its growth, development, and stability.
The NPC Executive Director stated that the Mission of the NPC is to support the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections which is the bedrock for peace and development in every nation, adding that the NPC seeks to identify and articulate all the challenges that derail credible elections and peaceful transfer of power in Nigeria.
The NPC aspires to design strategies and set up proactive mechanisms for engaging stakeholders irrespective of region, religion, and political affiliation for the attainment of peaceful elections in Nigeria.
Speaking on the Ethics and other instruments of the NPC, the Project Officer of the Committee, Mr. Emmanuel Nkanta, listed out the code of conduct expected of members of the NPC in Akwa Ibom State.
“The NPC is set up to advocate for substantive, issues-based electoral campaign devoid of divisive ethnic, religious and hate slurs which will help drastically to reduce politically motivated violence before, during and after the elections.
“The NPC encourages losing candidates at both the federal and state levels to concede the elections in a timely and unequivocal manner and where they cannot accept the outcome, to seek redress through established legal channels.
“The NPC helps to ensure that INEC, the Security Agencies and other government agencies involved in the elections are transparent and non-partisan in the discharge of their duties. The NPC facilitates the resolution of intra-party and inter-party disputes that may undermine the electoral process and unity of Nigeria by serving as a platform for mediation and conciliation.
“The NPC serves as a platform for mediation between INEC and the political parties on issues they could not otherwise resolve by themselves. The NPC proactively works with religious, traditional and community leaders and organizations to de-escalate tension and build trust ahead of the elections, especially in active conflict zones and parts of the country prone to electoral violence.
“The NPC engages such other stakeholders as the business community, civil society groups, media proprietors and professionals and relevant regulatory agencies to ensure credible and peaceful elections. The NPC uses its enormous convening power and goodwill to foster peace in the short term among conflict parties, especially as it relates to elections with the hope that further dialogue (post elections) will lead to the resolution of the underlying issues.
“Overall, the NPC helps to foster a culture of dialogue, peace, and reconciliation beyond elections that will facilitate the overall socio-economic development of the country.” He explained.
The members of the National Peace Committee at the national level has former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar GCFR (rtd.) as Chairman; Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe GCON (rtd.), Vice Chairman; Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Convener; His Eminence Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III CFR, The Sultan of Sokoto; John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Alhaji Aliko Dangote GCON, Justice Roseline Ukeje OFR (rtd.), Mr. Femi Otedola CON, Mr. John Momoh OON and Fr. Atta Barkindo, Head of Secretariat among other eminent Nigerians.
While members of the National Peace Committee, Akwa Ibom State has Dr. Udeme Nana as Chairman, and Otuekong Franklyn Isong, Secretary; Archbishop John Koko-Bassey, Dr. Samuel Udonsak, Prof. Alphonsus E. Udoh, Evangelist Mojima Etokudo, Dr. (Mrs.) Ekpedeme Udom.
Others are Rev. (Barr.) Nyong Nyong, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Charles Ekeng representing Catholic Bishop Ayah, Diocese of Uyo; Alhaji Hassan Sadauki, Abdulkadir Hassan Bakori and Mrs. Ima Nestor Udoh among others.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of working instruments of NPC to Dr. Udeme Nana and Otuekong Franklyn Isong by the Executive Director & Head of Secretariat, Fr. Atta Barkindo through the Policy Advisor, Barr. Saka Azimazi and the Project Officer, Mr Emmanuel Nkanta.