For Nigeria’s foremost youth-based Organization, the Peace Corps of Nigeria, PCN, the five letter word P-E-A-C-E holds a lot of fascinating appeal. And for understandable reasons too! And this explains why PEACE occupies a pride of place or better still, pre-eminent position in its name.

Apart from the fact that its birth was premised on addressing the multi-faceted challenges confronting Nigerian youths, the most vulnerable segment of the nation’s population, available statistics have shown that in virtually all countries of the world, Nigeria inclusive, a jaw-dropping percentage of crime is perpetrated by the youths. It therefore follows that any nation desirous of peace must strive relentlessly in order to address the basic needs of the youths, which is what Peace Corps of Nigeria stands for.

It is on this note that PCN has decided to flag-off a momentous campaign tagged ‘LET’S GIVE PEACE A CHANCE’, a programme targeted at sensitizing Nigerians on the need to allow peace govern our conduct both individually and collectively. This programme will be officially flagged-off tomorrow Thursday, 8th August 7, 2019, at the National Headquarters and all the State Commands simultaneously.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to remind ourselves what peace really entails. Peace means freedom; a feeling of comfort; freedom from war and terror. Peace is necessary for the existence of this world. The absence of peace in any region of the world is responsible for the deaths of many people and the resultant consequence is ruination on all fronts. Peace is necessary for life, for living and for happiness.

As desirable and crucial as peace is to development, in Nigeria, this vital commodity has been under severe pressure in recent times as a result of hate speeches, ethnic agitations, divisive politics and an unspeakable number of crimes and criminalities.

That peace has taken flight from Nigeria is already an open secret. And that Nigeria is currently in the vice grip of anarchy is not by happenstance. Even a piece of iron that goes rusty by oxidation had external agents acting on it. So, the failure of Nigeria as a nation is a product of our collective efforts.
Caught in the vortex of avoidable crisis of unimaginable proportions as it were, which is precipitated essentially by the youths, Nigerians, according to the late Pa Alfred Rewane, are ‘’no more hoping for a better tomorrow but mourning for the loss of a better yesterday’’.

It is equally sad to note that Nigeria today is in deep morass; we are at crossroads. Things are getting nastier and nastier. There is so much duplicity, so much opportunism, so much selfishness and so much double talk. With assassinations, kidnappings, ritual murders, armed robbery, communal crisis, killings by herdsmen attaining frightening dimensions in the country, there is the urgent need to support this current move by the Peace Corps of Nigeria to promote peace in the country.

To underscore how important and essential Peace is in the affairs of mankind, Mahatma Ghandi once said, ‘’Eye for an Eye can only make the world go blind’’. Also, Albert Einstein said “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” So, understanding that peace and security are cornerstones for the sustainability of democracy and development of the country is crucial. It is on this note that PCN is rolling out this wonderful prgramme and urging all and sundry to intensify efforts to end conflicts of all kinds and promote peace and harmony.

This noble programme being unveiled today by the Organization is actually in sync with the efforts of our Armed Forces and Other Security Agencies to tame insecurity, especially terrorism, kidnapping, farmers/herdsmen clashes etc, which is heightening tension in our dear country. This effort, if supported by all and sundry, will ultimately create an atmosphere of peace that will be a sin qua non to meaningful development.

However, the point must be stressed that this effort of Peace Corps for the prevalence of peace in Nigeria must not be misconstrued for an exercise in mere symbolisms, but an honest and sincere quest to plant the tree of peace in every available space in our national life. It is in this regard that I wish to implore all Nigerians, particularly the youths, that we should realize that peace is one of humanity’s most precious needs. Let us collectively promise at this juncture to make peace not just a priority but our daily passion.

If we do all these, we will be consolidating on the gains and efforts of our security forces, thereby creating an conducive atmosphere for sustainable development and nation-building.
No doubt, with the exhibition of commitment by the Corps towards attaining peace in the land so far, we are well placed to raise the bar in our peace endeavours, and to imagine better ways to achieve deeper, lasting peace. We are also well placed to infuse the lessons learned into the global multilateral arena.

In conclusion, let us all resolve to be better students in the school of peace, so that our homes and neighborhoods, our country, and our 21st century can radiate peace. I believe strongly that only show of LOVE by all and across all divides can rescue our dear nation, Nigeria from the current debilitating clutches of mayhem. And for those who believe in hate, consciously or subconsciously, it is my prayer and hope that God will put them back to the path of humanity driven by LOVE and PEACE! We must preach peace, breath peace, live in peace and above all, dispense peace at all times.

From Rogers Ochela

Ochela, is the media consultant to Peace Corps of Nigeria lives in Abuja (090-94411666—Text only)