Delegation to Nigeria (2010)
Location Kaduna, Nigeria | Hosted By: Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa
At the end of 2010, Nigerians began preparations for 2011’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Given Nigeria’s history of religiously motivated conflicts, many predicted a violent election season as candidates exploited religious and ethnic tensions to attract large blocks of votes.
In an effort ward off violence and create a peaceful election atmosphere, Peacemakers Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye organized a delegation of their fellow Peacemakers to reach out to Nigerian communities. This delegation included one representative from each Abrahamic faiths: Yehezkel Landau (US/Israel), Ivo Markovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Azi Hussain (Pakistan).
During the delegation’s visit, the five Peacemakers:
- Conducted conflict resolution seminars in three cities across the country, reaching 650 people.
- Appeared on several local and national media outlets, including the morning TV program “AM Express,“ which reaches tens of millions of people each day.
- Met with key government officials, diplomats, and religious, traditional, and civil society leaders. With a delegation of international Peacemaker VIPs, Pastor James and Imam Ashafa secured meetings with many high-level leaders that were previously inaccessible.
- Presented a Statement of Solidarity composed and signed by 19 Peacemakers representing the wider Network. The Statement affirmed the Network’s mission of peacebuilding and called on all sectors of the Nigerian population to contribute to a peaceful election season.
As a result of the intervention, Imam Ashafa and Pastor James strengthened their relationships and amplified their message of peace. The delegation promoted an important partnership with Nigeria’s Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and the Statement of Solidarity was translated and disseminated in local languages with support from the Cultural Affairs unit at the U.S. Embassy. Most importantly, while some violence did emerge during the election cycle, Pastor James and Imam Ashafa believed that the delegation contributed to easing tensions and limiting the scope of the violence.