The Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, in collaboration with the Junior Chambers, Ikoyi recently held a peace march in Abuja. CALEB ONWE was there
Nigerians from all walks of life have been worried about the state of insecurity in Nigeria. They are not comfortable with both the continued attacks by the Boko Haram in the North-East and the violence unleashed by the killer herdsmen in the Middle Belt and other parts of the country.
Although the Federal Government had continuously assured the populace that its security agencies were on top of the situation, peace appears to have become a mirage to many citizens.
However, last week, the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, in collaboration with the Junior Chamber International, Ikoyi, held a peace rally in Abuja.
The rally, which attracted participants from various voluntary organisations and civil society groups, marched from the Unity Fountain, Abuja to Aso Rock Presidential Villa, where they presented a symbolic peace plaque to the Presidency.
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, who is the brain behind the peace rally, enjoined Nigerians to work towards entrenching justice, equity and fairness in all their endeavours, warning that Nigeria cannot achieve peaceful coexistence without providing a level play field for all citizens.
The business mogul and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stated that the “Peace is Possible in Nigeria” campaign, was designed to sensitize the populace on the need for every Nigeria to support peace wherever they find themselves in the country.
Kalu described the rally as an initiative meant to raise the consciousness and commitments of Nigerians towards the promotion of peace.
“Although dreaming a conflict-free Nigeria is a day dream because conflict is part of the human nature and therefore, is inevitable, peace is possible in Nigeria if we all would not only embrace tolerance but also work together in love,” Kalu said.
As Kalu aptly captured it in his peace sermon, no society can be completely immune to conflict but peace remains one ingredient without which a society can forever be doomed.
Kalu, who had traversed almost all regions of the country, meeting with prominent Nigerians, especially the political class and religious leaders, affirmed his faith in the indivisibility of the marriage of the multicultural ethnic groups that make up the country.
Executive Secretary, Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, Rev. Mrs. Jemaimah Kalu, who stood in for the former governor at the rally, stated that there was no doubt that Nigeria was passing through a phase that would refine its beauty and worth, making it to regain its glory in the comity of nations.
While he was optimistic that achieving peace in Nigeria was a possibility that was beyond doubts, he admonished both leaders and the led to join hands and promote all the variables that could engender peace and harmony.
“Let us give peace a chance. Let there be the cessation of enmity, hatred, violence, war, bloodletting, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, corruption and all vices in our country and let it be replaced with law and order, calmness, love, unity, comfort, security, dialogue, patience, friendship, reconciliation, rejoicing and unending progress and development.
“The Nigerian nation was founded on love, oneness, tolerance, as well as, solidarity. Let us return to embrace the dream of our forbearers. Nigeria should uphold the principle of unity in diversity and pledge to sustain and maintain the Peace that has bound us together,” Kalu said.
Other stakeholders who participated in the rally, also expressed unflinching faith that Nigeria could come out of the political and social doldrums it had found itself.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Office, Mr. Gideon Zamani, who received the Peace advocates, noted that the Peace Rally was timely and a critical national assignment.
“I have come out as a matter of emergency to receive you on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,( SGF) Boss Mustapha. By what you are doing today, you believe in what this administration is doing to achieve peace.
“This administration is making efforts to fight insurgency, herdsmen and farmers clashes and other vices that this administration has inherited. This administration is proud of what you are doing in contributing to restore peace to the nation,” he said.
Coordinator of Peace is Possible Initiative, Chibuike Akujobi, said that peace was needed in the world and not only in Nigeria. Akujobi disclosed that the peace advocates have resolved to take the rally to all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria..
“We are doing this to let young citizens of Nigeria understand that peace is possible. JCI, Ikoyi Chapter is doing this in partnership with Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation. This is the first time that this is happening and we are looking at having this project in all 36 states of Nigeria, declaring to young people that peace is possible,” he said.
President, Junior Chambers International Ikoyi chapter, Chidiebere Onyeoma, noted that JCI is a nongovernmental organization, that welcomes active citizens from the ages of 18 to 40, who would join hands to create positive change in the country.
According to him, the underlying principle that motivates members of JCI is its nation building initiative which makes members see the need to take the lead, by taking action on the challenges of the society instead of sitting down and watching things go wrong.
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