By Abu I. Michael
The 16 years of wasted rule during which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway to power with a political structure that left a rearward socioeconomic system may largely have induced the clamour for social change, and a positive reforms that may bring about a new socioeconomic order to take Nigeria completely out of the ranks of third world or developing countries into a developed economy. The victory of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) at the 2015 presidential poll was an announcement for the emergence of a new ruling class of the All Progressives Congress (APC); the mandate given him was a pointer to the desire of Nigerians for positive change.
To ensure successful reforms in order to attain the socioeconomic order that will eventually pave ways for genuine progress in our political, cultural, and socioeconomic affairs, the APC-led Government of PMB hasten an impetuous war on corruption and economic sabotage to free Nigerians from the lasso of corrupt, fraudulent politicians and public office holders. The consequences of terrorism and violent extremism cannot be overemphasized. Our country is having her share of the upshots of the evils of terrorism and violent extremism: killings and maiming of innocent lives; destruction of public and private properties; untold hardship of people in areas experiencing violent conflicts; the huge amounts of money being consumed in this period of economic recession to forestall the crises, and in rehabilitating and reconstructing of communities affected by violent attacks. Terrorism and violent extremism which are tied largely to corruption and ruptured peace and sense of safety in parts of the country although under the sledgehammer of the federal government have done much damage to our economy.
Experts affirm that conflict is inevitable but that violent conflictcan be prevented or controlled. According to a renowned peace practitioner, who is the Director General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Professor Oshita OsangOshita, “Iceland is about the most peaceful country in the world and peaceful also are the other Nordic Countries of Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. So it is possible to attain durable peace, and Nigeria can achieve such state of affinity for her people.” Going by this revelation, I believe that the Nordics were able to attain this superior and enviable civilization earned through discipline, patriotism, loyalty to a common creed that opposes any forms of bigotry, be it ethno-religious, socio-cultural, regional or political. Their emphasis has been on a common value of respect of one another, mutual understanding, tolerance among themselves, and general love of one another with adequate support to their constitutional provisions which guarantee good governance.
Quoting the Director General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Prof. Oshita Oshita, “Unfortunately, many African countries only plan fordeployment of hard power to quell violent protests rather than plan and budget to build peace and inclusive structures in order to prevent the eruption of violent conflicts. Underdevelopment and property are catalytic agents for violent conflicts, which undermines any little development that would have been attained”.
It shows that in Nigeria also, violent conflicts can be prevented, relative peace attained, and an enviable national cohesion of a multiethnic country like ours achievable if only we take systematic steps towards enhancing peace among our people, and empirical actions in combating imminent threats to our corporate existence as one indivisible nation. A peaceful atmosphere will encourage socioeconomic growth and development, and a more united Nigeria will be able to resist any threat to the security of lives and property. In fact, our attainment of peace and national unity will make Nigeria a formidable entity for any political, economic or social adversity or aggression of whatever level or degree.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari, for the first time, the Nigerian Central Government is imbued with sincerity of purpose, commitment to robust security, and to attaining durable socioeconomic conditions to better the lot of the Nigerians.
It is in this spirit that IPCR in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations (UN) Women, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), Young Youth Network for Good Leadership in Nigeria (YYNGLIN) as well as the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) under the wife of Mr. President recently organized events to mark the UN-International Day of Peace. The events included jingles on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Network, a novelty match, peace walk and peace lecture to drum the importance of peace in any given society. The theme for the celebration for the year is Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Building Blocks for Peace which according to Oshita,“reminds us of the centrality of the pursuit of human security if we want to ensure peace, development and stability of the country. For the avoidance of doubt, the SDGs are all vital ingredients as well as drivers of human security and precursors of good governance”.
Many spoke at the event that was held at IPCR, Abuja; renowned Professor Oka M. Obono of the Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan was the Guest Speaker; His Royal Majesty Eze Kalu Kalu Ogbu, the Enachioken of Abiriba was a Guest, with His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II as Chairman of the occasion. While their messages centred on the need for all and sundry to embrace peace, there was a clarion call for the Nigerian Government to start budgeting for peacebuilding, peacemaking, and its sustenance. Peace has no alternative, and if there is, then it is violence.
Michael is the Media Assistant to the IPCR DG.