International Peace Day: Craving for African Peaceful Co-existence - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

International Peace Day: Craving for African Peaceful Co-existence

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By Oluwaseun Boye


A peaceful and secured environment is sacrosanct to every society. This reflects in the words of Hellen Keller which says" I don't want the peace that passes understanding.  I want the understanding that brings peace".

As individuals, concerted efforts must be made to achieve a peaceful state of mind as well as a sustainable environment. Being at peace or peaceful connotes a sense of calmness and relaxed state about something or oneself. Therefore, peace is very germane in nation building in order to yield positive outcomes. Peace, unity and progress are three essential ingredients that help in nation building as well as guaranteeing the security of lives and property. 

Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary describes peace as freedom from from war or violence. Invariably, the word "war" connotes organized, large scale, armed conflict between countries or between nations, ethnic or other sizeable groups usually involving the engagement of military weaponry to enforce control.

As a result of this, millions of lives have been lost while huge capital resources are being wasted on annual basis at every war zone countries. War and violence in any country or ethnic group have nothing good to offer anyone but hunger, rape and all sorts of sexual assaults on the girl child and women, desolation of towns and cities, separation from family members and loved ones, large scale destruction among other collateral damage. 

No wonder, Norman Vincent -Pealie was clamouring for " the life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress as the easiest type of existence".

Peace, according to Wikipedia is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups.

It also defines unity as the state of being undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting. It is the smallest whole numeral representation. It has the quality of being united into one. Unity can denote a combining of all the parts, elements and individuals into an effective whole.
While progress is described as  the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise desired state.
It refers to the proposition that advancements in technology, science, and social organization have resulted, and by extension will continue to result, in an improved human condition.

These three essential components if well harnessed would not only bring about a peaceful and prosperous nation, they would also help in reviving a collapsed economy and improve a thriving one.

War and Violence are noted to be common among the developing countries of the world. World peace makers said that some of causes of these wars are "talkable"  without heading to war among the concerned ethnic groups involved in the violence. But it is pathetic that most people prefer violence than ' peace talk' where issues will be ironed out and resolved  amicably towards ensuring socio-economic development of the nation.

African Countries are not free from the incessant wars, ethnic killings, armed conflict, among others caused by land disputes, ethnic hegemony, religious bigotry among other based political violence. Nigeria, the most populous black nation in Africa has the potentials of creating harmonious and peaceful environment for its diverse ethnic groups only with true federalism and sincere leadership quality. 

This year, it has been clearer than ever that people are not each other’s enemies, rather, the common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens health, security and ways of life. COVID-19 has thrown the world into turmoil and forcibly reminded all that what happens in one part of the planet can impact other people everywhere.

As the world struggle to defeat COVID-19, our voices are more important than ever. In these difficult times of physical distancing, this International Day of Peace has been dedicated to fostering dialogue and collecting ideas.
The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together.” Celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic.

As individuals, groups or associations, we must strive to ensure sustainable peace at the families neighbourhoods, offices, religious bodies, citadel of learnings to mention a few.
Without peace, security of lives and Property may be difficult as a chaotic environment would give room for violence.

One of the major purposes of the day is not only to discuss how to promote and maintain peace among all people but all nations must honour the cessation of hostilities during the period and create public awareness on peaceful coexistence. 
We can contribute our quota in promoting peace and peaceful coexistence among our people by organising peace debate in schools,  establishing or joining peace carnivals to mark the day and show solidarity for a peaceful world.

 In the words of Mahatma Gandhi  " an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind. Our involvement in celebrating International Peace Day this year will go a long way at making the world a better place for all to live without fear and disarray.

There are  other things people can do to further promote or foster peace by organising peace gathering feast where people from various ethnic group can come together to share unique cultural values in food, dialect, fashion, games to mention a few. Besides, we can also foster peace by educating and teaching our children the virtues of love and peaceful coexistence. 

Government at all levels in Nigeria can use the occasion of International Day of Peace to create more awareness on peace and value for peaceful coexistence by discouraging ethnic rivalries, killings, religious bigotry, hate speech, division  among others through radio, television and by practicing true federalism to further build the lost hope of 'One Nigeria '

 As we celebrate this year International day of Peace and the occasion of the 60th anniversary of our nation , all stakeholders must put all hands on deck by playing their part .

Oluwaseun Boye is an Information Officer with the Ministry of Information and Strategy and writes via oluwaseunboye@gmail.com