22 September 2013

Nigeria: Not a World At Peace


The significance of this year's International Day of Peace should not be forgotten in the face of the many conflicts ravaging our world. Indeed, the world is at war with itself: In Egypt, a rebellious junta is up in arms against the Islamist Party and has ousted the elected president. Many lives are being wasted in Syria over a needless civil strife. In Mali, there is the peace of the graveyard. Many other countries of the world are beset with internecine ethnic and religious crises, most of which are said to, rightly or wrongly, be exacerbated by interlopers from the countries claiming to police the world and driving the peace process through the UN.

It is sad that the United States is often suspected of being behind some of the challenges to international peace and security. In one breath, the world's sole superpower preaches peace; in another breath, it is quick to draw a battle line with governments of nations opposed to its ideals. It is always willing to compromise the sovereignty of such nations. For as long as the US has this confrontational stance, international peace, especially in the Middle East and most of Southern America, will remain a pipedream. Even in countries that are not in arms struggle, poverty, injustice, internal domination and insecurity are features that indicate that lack of war does not amount to the presence of peace.

Nigeria is not spared in the world order that is tension-soaked. The insurgency in the north-eastern region remains a major challenge. Poverty and politics have been blamed for this more than religion. A country that has quaint regard for equity, justice and fair play will be in perpetual conflict. No part of the country is immune from one form of crisis or the other. Armed robbers would not allow the south-westerners to sleep with both eyes closed. The Nasarawa State skirmishes have become intractable on account of ethnic militias with political agenda. Plateau and Kaduna states are hotbeds of Hausa, Fulani and Berom hegemons, while the Niger Delta is in turmoil over agitation for the control of natural resources.

The political parties are clueless about development and are enmeshed in persistent inter- and intra-party squabbles. They have carried these to the hallowed chambers of the state and national assemblies. With such distraction, how do our leaders hope to inculcate the ideals of peace and harmony in our communities? The youths are also following in their footsteps with campus cults and lawlessness.

Yesterday's "celebration" is therefore a far cry from the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon's admonition to all: facilitate teaching our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. We are surely not investing in "the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity". Certainly, the UN's fight for peace and its defence has become mere wishful thinking.

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