By O.E Bassey
I recall writing my book, I am Resolved in 2010, and predicting a time like this would come in the country where there would be a vehement and rigorous clamour for a new Nigeria, and that it was going to spark off from the Law Enforcement Agencies. So little surprised was I when the EndSARS protest took reigns in the country for weeks.
The plain truth is, creating and maintaining a peaceful and secure clime is everyone’s business, as such, it would be counterproductive leaving it to only the security and law enforcement professionals. True development can only happen in an atmosphere of peace.
Together, we must resolve to learn the art of waging peace and not war. This is the time we must resolve to be soldiers of peace. Our nation’s motto of Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress can only be achieved if we are intentional at all levels. Intentionally, we must all lead in truth, love and justice. Only via these ways would we be able to sustain peace anywhere and everywhere.
We must come to agree that without pushing, a new birth can’t happen. Every new birth comes with labour pains. We must get rid of the false notion that there is some miraculous flow of time that inevitably heals all evils. There is only one thing certain about time, and that is: it waits for no one. If it is not used constructively, it passes you by and can never be recovered. The time for real and positive change is now. Yes, now!
We must agree that if there is no struggle, there is no progress. Peace actually is not the absence of struggle but the absence of violence. We must understand that power concedes to nothing without a demand. That is why our government must listen carefully to do the needful at a time like this.
From time immemorial, struggles and progress are inseparable. You can’t love freedom and hate agitation. You can’t desire or love crops but hate cultivation. You can’t love rain and hate thunderstorm. Power only concedes to demands and nothing else. There is no smoke without fire and we cannot pretend or sit aloof. There comes a time where old tricks would refuse to work again. That time is now! Waging peace is not a physical struggle, not a combat, we don’t need sticks, cutlasses, guns, armoured tanks and missiles, what we need are spiritual and mental fight against greed, deception and all manner of corruption.
Leveraging on peaceful protest would always be a potent communication tool in a democracy especially for positive transformation, and government through its relevant agenciesare ideally saddled with the duty to protect protesters and air their views, and by extension, see to it that their demands are met. This is the fundamental reason, the EndSARS protest held across the country for two weeks was very instructive and instrumental, for if we don’t speak out, power would not concede. If we don’t demand, power would keep eating their cake and having it. Waging peace through peaceful protest is never out of place.
There is absolutely no direr time than now that Nigeria needs a rebirth. We need transformation. We need societal change. We need spiritual change. We need ideological change. We need real change, no more deception. Yes, no deception! I call on the law enforcement community to embrace change and a next-level transformation as promised by this present government and if possible, exceed their expectation. Let’s stand with God on this matter because I believe the change and the next-level slogan of this administration are prophecies beyond the prophet. I call on all leaders – political, religious and more – to arise and rescue Nigeria by doing the needful. At this point in time, what we need are the weapons of truth, justice, freedom, love and peace.
Let’s look into systems that are not serving us well and address them to make Nigeria great again. When agitation is ignored, the likelihood is for leaders to take decisions that will destroy a thousand years of achievement in one moment,but responsible and peace leaders surrender to change even when they are not prepared for it.
Let’s stand on the truth – from leadership to followership. Let’s rise up for justice. Let’s recognize our interconnectedness. Let’s respect and serve the interest and wellbeing of one another.
Let’s redefine worth and honour. Let’s agree that we need genuine change and genuine next level.
Let’s put the machinery now in place to process all our thoughts into executions.Let’s agree on a time frame. Let the agenda begin now. Let our peace engineers move to the site, and get their noses to the grindstone. Let all peace leaders wade in alongside the youths that have been illustrious so far.
Our problems may be complex but viable, multifaceted but solvable. Brute force will get us nowhere in this time and age. Violent force will keep us where we have been for 60 years now, but non-violence is a sword that heals.
Both the leadership and followership must shun brute
force. We must agree that arresting symptoms does not terminate any virus. Brute force only deals with systems not the roots cause of problem. Let’s engage in strategies that will enable us to understand and confront root causes of our problems. This can only be achievable through non-violence approach of which negotiation is an indispensable factor. This is the time for our government to address the points raised during the two weeks peaceful protest in a bid to avoid a repeat in the interest of peace and progress.
Ofonime Emmanuel Bassey is a Peace leadership advocate, Peace and Conflict Resolution Consultant. He is the President, Institute of Peace & Conflict Resolution/ NISSI Foundation for Skills Acquisition and Reorientation.