On Peace: Responsible Citizenship Ensures A Peaceful Society
Amb. Odunayo OJEBODE
“If we don’t have peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” _ Mother Teresa.
I believe that when Mother Teresa was making the above statement, she was either seeing the pathetic nature of things then or prophesying based on her experiences what would become of a world that refuses to care about the welfare of people, with the hope that things would change.
Permit me to make my point clearer by sharing an experience I was told by a friend and showing you how it correlates with this wise woman’s conclusion about peace and the society.
Coming out of the University of Ibadan one fateful yet wet evening into the busy bus stop, Shola could not help the situation as it soon got dark. Though many ‘micra’ vehicles came by, the number of people going to the same destination with my friend was more than the vehicles could all contain.
Everyone waited patiently, of course. Some were busy shouting the name of the area where they lived. The traders nearby were also beckoning on customers to patronise them. In the course of all this, a black Toyota Avensis stopped abruptly in the middle of the road. You can imagine the confusion that situation just put every other road user in. The noises of the horns of different cars and the raised voices of people filled the whole environment.
As this happened, the driver of the car came out to check the bonnet and then went back to restart the car to no avail. The driver summoned courage and approached some of the people around to help him push the car a bit perhaps it would start. He offered to give a lift to those going in his direction if the car ever started.
Reluctantly, two guys volunteered to help him. Shola had only faintly heard the man’s appeal when he decided to help the man first as a good citizen (because it was so that the traffic could be lighter) and then to see if the man could help him to his destination as well.
So, besides the driver, three men struggled to push the car off the road. However, barely 20 seconds after, when the other two men besides Shola heard another driver calling their destination, they abandoned the vehicle they were pushing for that other driver’s vehicle. Shola was then left alone with the driver of the faulty vehicle, determining not give up even if no one joined him in the rescue mission.
The faulty vehicle had hardly passed the Agbowo junction in front of UI when it started. Hurriedly, Shola got into the moving car. As they proceeded, though the man didn’t have the intention of taking Shola’s route, he eventually did so as to get to his destination on time while also avoiding the heavy traffic on the route he was supposed to take before. That was how Shola got a free ride under a heavy cloud.
As Shola narrated this incident to me, I could just imagine what would have happened if the vehicle was not moved from that spot: many people would have been delayed in getting to their destinations. The situation could have gotten worse if there was a downpour that time. Also, if he had refused to help the man despite the fact that he was not sure of the man’s direction, it would have been difficult for him to get to his abode on time. He would definitely have had to pay a fee to the driver that would eventually take him home.
This could be related with the Nigeria and her level of development. How everyone seems to care only for themselves and yet, we expect public peace and development. How can the government expect much from the populace when they give little or close to nothing to our welfare?
Many lives are being lost and houses and properties are submerged in floods as a result of the recent continuous rainfall, which both the government and the governed could curtail only if they realised that they belong to each other. Despite the fact that the taxes are being paid by the people and other conditions met with the harsh state of the nation’s affairs, the government cannot be committed to their promises yet they expect much from the people. One thing is crystal clear, sustainable progress cannot come if all hands are not on deck. If we desire a peaceful and progressing nation, we must contribute our quota irrespective of our position in the society.
Everything rises and falls on leadership though the followers also have a task to do which is ensuring the good usage and maintenance of these facilities. You have a contribution to the peace, progress and development of this nation and the society you find yourself and if you are wanting in it, you will be held responsible for the resultant effect. There will be no peace unless we realise and work towards this consciousness.
For Peacepace Initiative.