The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has harped on the need for tolerance, dialogue and good neighbourliness among the citizenry and nations as an essential ingredient for attaining global peace.
Obaseki said this in commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Peace, marked on September 21, with this year’s celebration, tagged Together for peace: respect, safety and dignity for all.
According to the governor, tolerance of each other’s differences is vital to global peace and harmony, just as is conflict avoidance in our continuous quest for the best human environment to realise our God-given potential.
He noted that while the imperative for peace is sacrosanct, “conflict has come to define relations among countries and even communities. In addressing these conflicts, we must always remember that critical stakeholders and competing interests would always clash. Hence, the need for continuous dialogue, support, tolerance and reconciliation.”
He acknowledged that the journey to peaceful coexistence among Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities has been characterised by thorny paths, noting that the onus lies on critical stakeholders, including government and other actors in society, to design programmes and policies that guarantee equity, safety, security and dignity for all and promote initiatives that instil hope in the poor masses.
He added, “Building a just society requires that everyone is given equal opportunity to live to their full potential.
Creating equal opportunities that respect and guarantee rights of the weak as well as safeguard the interest of minorities is a principle that must and should be upheld. As we preach peace on this day, it is important that these issues do not just get a fleeting mention but that we see them fit as ingredients for policy design.”
The governor condemned the resort to violence in the quest to resolve conflicts and advised that there has never been a better option than to engage in dialogue and reconciliation in managing conflict or transitioning from a conflict situation.
“We have seen the adverse effects of violence, whether in Nigeria or elsewhere. We encourage everyone, especially young people, to take this day out to show unconditional kindness to their neighbours and other members of their communities,” he said.
The ideals of peace, according to him, should be a guiding principle in interacting with others, ensuring that our relations are not defined by parochial considerations or targeted at alienating any member of the community, irrespective of their ethnic and religious orientations.
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