The United Nations’ International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21st each year and the theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Partnership for Peace - Dignity for All’. The Peace Day is celebrated to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and to promote peace. It is also a day of ceasefire – personal or political…(does that mean everything can return back to status quo after that day..? cos that seems to be the trend)
In 1981 a UN resolution established the International Day of Peace to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The Assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence and encouraged people to work in cooperation for this goal.
The most commonly featured symbols for the day is the peace dove flying with an olive branch in its beak which represents ‘hope for peace’ or a peace offering from one person to another, hence the phrase ‘to extend an olive branch’. Often the dove is represented as still in flight to remind people of its role as a messenger.
We cannot equally say to be oblivious of the kinds of conflict affecting us as Africans and Nigeria as a country. Although there are a thousand and one of them, I will like to point out the most common four which I have categorized as thus:
1. Boundary and territorial conflicts (quest for Bakassi Peninsular)
2. Civil wars and Internal conflicts having international repercussions (Ask Burkina Faso)
3. Religious conflicts (Central African Republic)
4. Political and ideological conflicts (APC vs PDP)
I will be right to say that Nigeria championed the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 1975 and even spearheaded the creation of ECOWAS Cease Fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) which facilitated the resolution of the civil wars and the restoration of democracy in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The million dollar question is why have we been allowing these internal, religious and political conflicts divide us as a country? The only prominent thing about Nigeria now is their Jollof rice (keeps straight face)
When it comes to Religious conflict I will blame our religious leaders as most of them have ceased preaching peace, forgiveness and repentance to preaching prosperity and how the "violent taketh it by force", at the same time I will also blame we the followers who follow blindly forgetting what the Holy book has to say in every situation we find ourselves.
Finally I will like to use this medium and on this day to appeal to Nigerians (because you are either a staunch follower of APC or a pious supporter of PDP) to stop making this country uninhabitable because this game being played which I title ‘an eye for an eye’ will end up making us go blind. Let us set up a platform and reason together as Nigerians on how to make this country a better place for us and the future generations, as peace can only be achieved by understanding. Let us control our minds as individuals and not be controlled by the name of the party. Lets look past our different religions, tribe, race, complexion, gender and let us follow peace with all men.