Nigeria, A Nation in Search of Peace By Enenim Ubon
Wikipedia defines peace as “a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violence, conflict behaviors and the freedom from fear or violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality and a working political order, that serves the true interests of all.”
Peace in the Nigerian context has been redefined to mean the absence of war, absence of militancy or absence of agitation of any kind under any guise. In Nigeria it is very common to hear both government officials and ‘ordinary’ citizens say a particular region is peaceful, simply because gunshots are not heard nor are bombs exploding in such places. We continue to live in the illusion that ours is a peaceful nation, ignoring the basic fundamentals of peace as defined above, forgetting that without efforts to sustain peace, there would eventually be no peace.
Peace is therefore not only the absence of war but the creation and maintenance of a just order in the environment and by extension the society. Without a working justice system that establishes and maintains equality, serving the interests of everybody, (no matter how poor or lowly placed in the social order), peace cannot be achieved even in the absence of wars and fighting.
In Nigeria, what is commonly referred to as peace is nothing but a facade. What actually exists is the oppression and suppression of a people who have not yet found a way of making themselves heard or still trying to convince themselves on why they should not engage in violence or in some cases planning on what form or method their agitation will take.
A nation that understands the importance of peace will NEVER take matters of economic and social welfare of its citizens for granted, because its leadership is fully aware of the inextricable link between ‘meaningful’ development and peace.
‘REAL’ peace can only be achieved and sustained when: There’s justice, fairness and a working political order that serves the interests of ALL. Furthermore, a peaceful Nigeria is possible when the Confucius concept of REN (translated as benevolence or humaneness) is adopted by all citizens. Confucius defined REN as “not to do to others as you would not wish done to yourself”.
Our leaders have to realize that without justice, fairness and equality, there can be no REAL peace and for our nation to move forward in all ramifications there MUST be REAL peace after which it becomes the duty of everyone to sustain the peace through REN.
Enenim Ubon is on twitter @enenimubon
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