The Search For A New Nigeria: (4): De-escalate Violence And Embrace Peace

…. “Way Forward”

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“We still have a chance today: non-violence, coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What does peace mean for me? It’s simple: it means you respect and accept not just others, but yourself. It also means you know yourself and your human weakness, so you can tame your ego and desire for absolute power.

For history to be kind to all of us, peace – a period of tranquillity anchored on mutual respect is essential. For peace to reign, there must be justice and fair play, which is just a matter of “give and take.”

It is in the light of the above that I passionately appeal to the conscience of critical stakeholders: statesmen, leaders of faith, captains of industry, friends of Africa, good citizens of our country, and particularly the people in authority to allow reason to prevail.

It is a sacred duty we must perform for the sake of our nation and the unborn generations.

I have a very strong conviction, to believe that the people in authority today will allow reason to prevail, instead of the everyday rhetorical, threatening and incoherent statements emanating from the military, security and presidential aides.

Regardless of how the mandate was procured, it is important for all of us to be mindful of the verdict of posterity, history and the judgement of God.

About this same time two years ago, the acrimonious, highly contentious and flawed electoral process resulted in litigations. However, it finally produced the present set of leadership. There was then an acceptance speech by the president promising to embrace reconciliation and reunite our beloved nation.

It was on the strength of the circumstances and total commitment to the unity of our great nation that we embarked on the peace drive that resulted in the enactment of the law recognizing June 12 as our Democracy Day celebration.

It was originally meant to serve as a healing balm, not for political gains and aggrandizement as it turns out to be – sad and very unfortunate.

After the June 12 motion was passed into law, we presented a work-in-progress document to the Federal government, through the Secretary to the government and copied the ‘Chief of Staff and his deputy in the presidential Villa.

It was moved by the distinguished Sen Ahmed Lawan GCON, and current head of the National Assembly (NASS). Lawan was then the leader of the 8th Senate.

Thankfully, another opportunity is still around the corner. June 12 is about five weeks away. We can work it out jointly with critical stakeholders and the people in government. It is not too late. “A stitch in time…”

So let us come together as Nigerians irrespective of religion, tribe or political leanings to find a lasting solution to issues that have bedevilled this nation for a very long time.

It is better late than never. Let us be truthful to ourselves and stop fanning the embers of hatred in our day to day activities. Let us take a cue from Somalia, Libya and Rwanda to mention a few.

We don’t need any soothsayer to foretell the future, which, to me can be prevented if we agree to settle our differences and forge ahead.

By so doing, we shall put our detractors to shame, and prove to the world that the black man is capable of solving his own problems without the intervention of the United Nations.


Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.

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