Without any doubt our planet is in peril as evidenced in about 28 armed-conflicts in 24 countries; with an estimated 18.5 million deaths from an average of over 33 million bullets in production around the world on a daily basis. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone the death toll stands at an alarming 9.2 million within the last ten years, which is equivalent to the population of either London, Central African Republic, Yokohama, Uruguay or Sydney to mention a few. Pathetically, the statistics of civilian casualties: mostly women and children stands at 90%. And sad enough over 2 million innocent children have been killed in these conflicts; over 1 million have been orphaned; over 6 million have either been seriously injured or permanently disabled and another 10 million have been left with serious psychological traumas; raising the percentage of death in conflicts (D-in-C) to an unprecedented 20 times more than death due to natural disaster, which is consistent at 669,405 in the past ten years.
In view of this ugly trend, the biggest question remains: where lies the answer(s) to this threatening global phenomenon? – PEACE.
OUR ROLE AS YOUTHS
First and foremost, the Nigerian youths should realize that we are the custodians of the future of our world; divinely saddled with the responsibility of preserving her from destruction. Having experimented with the available options, PEACE conclusively remains the most formidable tool in the quest for the attainment of this all important global task. It is about time we appreciated that PEACE is the bedrock of global advancement and the base for every meaningful domestic and international development. The youths should also be conscious of the fact that, we are the judges of the common destiny of the next generation, as such; we owe it the wholesome duty to draft and deliver a critically analyzed, well projected and workable blueprint for GLOBALISATION. Deeply rooted in the ideals of a practical and universally accepted PEACE standard. And if WORLD PEACE truly matters to us as we are propagating through various peace campaigns and missions across the globe, then it is about time the youths realized that peace does not, necessarily characterize the absence of war. It is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence and justice and that PEACE is principally a mentality, a character, a culture, a treasure and a practice; it is equally the art and science of CO-EXISTENCE. In Thich Nhat Nanh’s words: “The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of all human actions”. Peace is an attitude, and Thomas A. Kempis opined that, you must: “First keep the peace within yourself, and then you can also bring peace to others”. So, to appreciate the sovereignty of peace in our world, we must cultivate, imbibe and practice TOLERANCE, which is the sacred culture that governs peace. As youths we should be the architects of a modern peace structure, armed with the understanding that, the durability of this peace project is dependent on how formidable the foundation is. Should there be any legacy worth leaving behind for the generation unborn; it is a holistic and sustainable PEACE CULTURE for which they need not fight to keep, but keep naturally in order not to fight. We should also come to terms with the fact that, despite our geographical placements, the ultimate reality is that we are one human family created by God and that this family is the first school of LOVE and PEACE and that this peace could be shared and promoted beyond the imaginary boundaries of ethnicity, religion and nationality. Worthy of mention also is that, no matter how expensive it may cost us to build and maintain peace, it is still far cheaper than the cost of creating and servicing the cheapest conflict, as substantiated by the sizes of the defence and security budgets of some nations, which exceeds the total sum of other nations’ budget, with AGRICULTURE, EDUCATION AND HEALTH inclusive. I am not only convinced that peace is incomparably better than war, but that war is infinitely more arduous. I believe that, PEACE is the live-wire of the long awaited and craved for DEMOCRATIZATION. But should this world acclaimed democratization fail to guarantee the equality of conditions for mankind and the environment, I am certain that PEACE will guarantee the equality of opportunities to humanity; irrespective of the status quo or social standings. The youths should also realize that, peace building is not a product of accident, neither is it a destination, but a selfless journey en-route greatness and that, the attainment of this proverbial greatness is pertinent on observing molecular unit of peace in the family, worship places, market places and the society at large. If the world most be habitable and governable, the subject of peace must be constantly and consistently evaluated and updated, because it forms the core of every meaningful human existence.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom”. And if you subscribe to my theory which suggests that freedom is fundamentally mental, then peace can be said to be one of the numerous patterns of human behaviour and if it is a behavioral pattern that, lines us up with Maha Ghosananda’s conviction: “When you make peace with yourself, you make peace with the world”. Ipso facto: self peace is the required seed for global peace and to be at peace with self, you must first love self; to be at peace with your neighbour, you must equally love your neighbour and to love your neighbour as yourself is a commandment by our creator and to keep this commandment is to love and to love is PEACE. Peace I believe is a decision. I also believe in compulsory CANNIBALISM, but only if people were forced to eat what they killed, there would be no more WAR. Peace is an individual’s pursuit of happiness for all and also a collective pursuit of happiness for an individual and the value we place on the pursuit of peace, determines the quality of our lives as citizens of the earth. Peace is the proper dispensation of justice to all; it is a road worth constructing, a ladder worth climbing. Any failure to promote and uphold the tenets guiding universal human equality is a deliberate attempt to breach peace and that is the perfect recipe for global CATASTROPHE. Our trans-generational romance with conflicts connotes a gross failure on our path to accept the place of DIVINITY to and in HUMANITY and if we do not act FAST, our world is DOOMED.
I regrettably submit that, there can never be any genuine international or national re-branding at the dawn of incessant nuclear threats, Niger-Delta armed struggles, the boko haram up rise, the Tiv-Jukun crisis, politically motivated assassinations and other too numerous to be counted communal and religious conflicts. The stability of every nation is the perfect platform for her sustained fiscal and economic advancement, therefore no matter how much we pretend in Nigeria or Africa, we are still an integral part of a mutually interdependent WORLD where our futures are tied together and the invincible force that binds us together is far greater than what drives us apart. The youths should begin to envision PEACE BUILDING not merely as a moral cause, but as a common cause. This should serve as a clarion call to the African continent, because she is the most threatened by the octopus-shaped epidemic called POVERTY. This is the main cause of fragility and conflicts, birthed by the absence of an effective and responsive LEADERSHIP. Most importantly, our common security, which can be guaranteed solely by PEACE, depends largely on the emergence of a stable and credible government in Africa and the world at large. Let us see global peace as bigger than the sum of our individual, ethno-religious and trans-regional ambitions. With this mind-set, there can never be a limit to what we can achieve as a people when imagination meets common purpose. Let us team up and embark on a desperate search for a future of PEACE.
< br/> I SEE HOPE
John Lennon beckons us to: “Imagine all the people living in PEACE. You may say, I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. I hope someday, you will join us and the world will live as one”. It is about time we began to see the task of peace building as a collective responsibility for the betterment of mankind, that way we will pursue it with utmost dexterity and an unflinching doggedness, bearing in mind that, PEACE is the wheel of global progress.
Finally, let us at the apex of this global challenge align with a 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner, President OBAMA’S conviction during his inaugural address on January 20, 2009: “.we are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of the earth; and because we have tasted bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from the dark chapter stronger and more united, we can not help, but believe that the old hatred shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself.”
I opine that, we build and maintain the institution called PEACE, rather than sinking huge task payer’s hard-earned money that, should be channeled towards capital development projects to service our man made CONFLICTS or human IRRESPONSIBILITIES.
I SEE HOPE.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.