By Fr. John Damian Adizie
If there is anything the world needs most, it is peace! If there is anything the government should invest in more, it is peace. If there is any message the men of God should never get tired of preaching on, it is the message of peace. Peace is the most precious value on earth. It is the foundation of national development. Without peace there will be no development.
World leaders met this week at UN General Assembly to reflect on the importance of peace. September 21st is International Day of Peace. It is a day set aside by the UN General Assembly to reflect on the value of peace. Within this period world leaders are expected to address some of the challenges facing their countries that threaten peaceful co-existence. Incidentally, the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace is: “Together for peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity.”
Together for Peace: A peaceful society is a society where everyone sees peace as its ultimate value. Peace is not a one man show. A tree can never make a forest. There will be no lasting peace unless everyone in the society decides to embrace peace. All hands must be on deck!
Peace through Respect: Without respect there will be no peace. Everyone deserves certain amount of respect. Respect is reciprocal. The more we respect people the more we are respected. A respectful society is a peaceful society. A peaceful society is a society where people’s rights are respected.
Peace for safety: Peace and safety are inseparable reality. A peaceful world is safe world. Without peace there will be no safety. Peace is the only channel through which human safety is established and guaranteed. The most secured place in the world is the most peaceful place.
Peace as Dignity for all: Human dignity is the foundation of peaceful co-existence. Respect for fundamental human rights and dignity is the essence of peace. A peaceful nation is a nation that promotes and respects the dignity of its citizens.
There is tension in our world today. Most countries are beginning to beat war drums. When the Jews started their own war drums, Jesus Christ cried for Jerusalem, saying: “Would that even today you knew the things that make for Peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42). In 70 AD after this warning Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
Most countries in the world today, especially Nigeria, have started beating their own war drum. I doubt if they know the importance of peace and the consequences of war. If ASUU knows the importance of peace they will not be using indefinite strikes to frustrate innocent students. If the political leaders know the importance of peace they will not delay in paying workers’ salaries. They will not even wait to see the pensioners dying of hunger.
If political and religious leaders know the importance of peace they will not ignore the youths. They will ensure that the youths are gainfully employed and empowered. If Men of God and other religious leaders know the importance of peace they will not be indifferent in the face of injustice. If the so-called United Labour Congress (ULC) knows the importance of peace they will not be contemplating industrial strike in a situation where the nation is facing so many crisis.
If the Arewa youths know the importance of peace they will not contemplate using quit notice to terrorize the Igbos. If the IPOB knows the importance of peace they will not deny their true identity, thereby claiming to be of Jewish origin and trying to impose Judaism on others all in the name of secession. Republic or Independence is the ability to exist “economically” and politically without depending on other nations. If the Government knows the importance of peace they will not be using military force to harass and intimidate their citizens. They will apply dialogue first.
A nation where nobody is interested in peace and common welfare but their own selfish interest is a nation that is heading to ruin. A nation where people no longer fell secured and a sense of belonging is a nation that is heading to ruin. A nation where majority of its citizens are feeling marginalized and oppressed is a nation that is heading to ruin. A nation where the rich are getting richer whereas the poor are getting poorer is a nation that is heading to ruin. Above all, a nation without the fear of the Lord is indeed a ruined nation.
I hereby appeal to my fellow Nigerians, Let there be peace! In our families, our government, our schools, our business centres, and even in our churches, let there be peace! Wherever we may find ourselves, let there be peace! May peace remain with us both now and forever more. Amen!