Amb. Odunayo OJEBODE
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding _Albert Einstein
Understanding is paramount to ensure peace in Nigeria. Conferences and colloquia held by stakeholders with an aim to forestall peace and peaceful coexistence in my nation have yielded little or no results. Today we hear of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) seeking to be independent by all means, tomorrow Boko Haram turns a region of the nation to a war zone, next is Arewa Youth vomiting violent threat and putting the Igbos on notice to vacate their states. At another time the Odudua People Congress (OPC) replies one threat or the other while Fulani herdsmen raid farms and homes of innocent Nigerians striving to support their families. Isn’t our nation a nation with many sores?
On July 23rd 2019, a report was aired concerning the death of some people during a clash between the Nigerian Police and the Shiites group at the F.C.T, Abuja where a corp member serving as a journalist with Channels Television was killed.
All these devilish acts take place in a democratic nation like Nigeria and no lasting solution has sufficed. Is it possible to say that the ‘giant’ of Africa cannot resolve indifferences among her people? Since her existence as a nation, is it right to say that Nigeria lacks intelligent people in government and among the governed that can proffer solution to this age-long issues which have retarded her progress and development as a sovereign nation? I don’t think so.
Join me to look at Nigeria and its peacekeeping operation successes in Africa. According to Adesoji Adeniyi, a Freelance Peace and Security Researcher and Analyst, London, United Kingdom, Nigeria has provided UN peacekeepers to Congo (ONUC) for a period of four years deploying military contingents, unarmed military observers, military staff officers, formed police units, police advisors and civilian experts to over 25 UN missions. He also affirmed that Nigeria is currently one of the largest UN contributing countries with military and civilian personnel deployed in ten UN peacekeeping operations and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The statistic also shows that Nigeria contributed in ECOWAS peace operations to the tune of US$8 billion in various missions in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone. In recent time, Nigeria is recorded to have provided 1,200 troops to the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), and 200 police officers to AMISOM. While the above are feats recorded for us as a nation, there are Nigerians who have distinguished themselves and served in various capacities in peacekeeping, representing Joint AU-UN Special Representatives and Head of the UN Mission in Darfur – Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Olu Adeniji and Margaret Vogt are few among others.
The security challenges faced by Nigerians in recent time have resulted in a reprioritization of troops whereby they are being recalled from peacekeeping missions in Mali among others and redeployed to restive regions within the country. This is because security and peace in one’s home is eminent for the wellbeing of neighbouring nations. Nigeria troops need to do more in ensuring the security of lives and properties in their home country.
It is also good to note at this junction that for one to achieve feat in any endeavour in life, understanding among the concerned parties is very key. I believe that every tribe and group that makes up the Nigeria country desires the progress of this nation, but it will be outrightly impossible to achieve that progress without these units having a common understanding. Even the troops making Nigeria proud in different peacekeeping missions could not have made any impact if there is no understanding and integration of purpose among them.
If tolerance, respect and consideration of individual personality are important in every interpersonal relationship, then Nigeria needs no better alternative to remain a united and productive nation of the world once more. It is not impossible to have a Nigeria you and I have long dreamed of; a Nigeria where both the government and the governed have equal right to the national resources, and a Nigeria where marginalization of some people is not seen at all.
Peace and peaceful coexistence is possible in Nigeria if everyone does the needful.
Let’s give understanding and tolerance a chance for peace to exist in Nigeria. I stand for peace and one Nigeria. Do you?
For Peacepace Initiative… Towards Peace.