THE WAY OF PEACE
“Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflicts by peaceful means”. Ronald Reagan.
Conflict is dynamic and has many dimensions. Bearing this in mind, it posits that without a proper knowledge and comprehension of our very nature, the essence of our goals or visions for national peace and harmony will not be actualized unless genuine peace efforts commence at the point of deliberate dialogue aimed at bringing to fore issues of discord with the express goal of proffering lasting solutions on a mutually inclusive basis.
Our history is chequered with a series of internal conflicts which have severely weakened the foundations of our unifying pillars. Our diversity which once stood as our major source of strength has also been compromised and now serves as the bedrock of dissentions. Political affiliation, ethnicity and religion rather than serve as propelling forces towards sustained national development have become the basis for destructive agitations which have resulted in the loss of lives and the wanton destruction of property. Nigerians as a result have been forced to live under an atmosphere of insecurity and uncertainty.
The Niger Delta unrest, the kidnappings in South Eastern Nigeria, the political tensions in the South West and the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria are the most recent examples of threats to the unity and sovereignty of our dear country Nigeria. 2015 (our next election year), has become synonymous with anarchy with undisguised threats of war emanating from political groups and various sections of the country over mundane political issues that have no real bearing on our socio-economic advancement as a country.
President Jonathan has faced one of the most gruesome challenges of leadership this country has ever witnessed with only the Civil War surpassing it in intensity. His administration must be credited with having remained steadfast to issues of national development whilst engaging (head-on) threats to national security. There is however still much to be done and it is the view of the CITIZENS NETWORK that government cannot do it alone. Rather it is only through concerted effort by all Nigerians that sustained peace can reign at the end of the day.
Our understanding is that peace stands tall as the most crucial content in our quest for sustained national growth and development. We also know for certain that a majority of Nigerians have grown weary of the present situation and clearly prefer peace to war. Nigeria remains our collective asset with great potentials. We all share personal and collective interests that span the length and breadth of this country. To downplay the significance of our oneness would therefore be tantamount to denying God’s role in our destiny.
We see clearly that virtually every conflict that has arisen in our history has a political undertone. Unfortunately, it has for the most part been in pursuit of selfish interests and the quest for leadership. Amnesty programmes and the imposition of emergency rule are welcome. However, these do not guarantee sustained peace if we do not become actively involved in the peace building process. It begins with dialogue; it is sustained by honesty, patriotism and a nationalistic posture that emphasizes on ‘Nigeria First’.
If we allow this situation to degenerate into war, we all invariably lose.
OLU ADEKUNLE Snr.