Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, on Monday, advocated increased social investment to help promote and sustain peace in the country.
He also called for observance of rule of law by both government and citizens, even as he described the judiciary as a critical element to peace in the country.
The former governor spoke, in Abuja, during a press conference to herald a peaceful match tagged ‘Peace is Possible in Nigeria’ organised by the Junior Chamber International (JCI), Ikoyi, in partnership with the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation.
He noted that Nigerians were busy building Churches and Mosques without commensurate attention to education.
Kalu added that that in order to attain equal peace in Nigeria, there is need for balance of education in the country, declaring that the issue of Almajiri must be eradicated completely.
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Kalu said: “I am a Christian, a committed Christian. I am not saying that people should not build Churches. It is only in Nigeria that people are building more giant Churches and Mosques without building more schools for children to go to school and learn. It is only in Nigeria
“When I was governor, I invested heavily on education. People from Abia state can testify to that because education is keen to anything you are doing. If we want peace in Nigeria, we must eliminate Almajiri.
“It must go totally, Almajiri. I am not a northerner. Government must invest money to also eliminate it.
“All societies must have equal peace. People must go to school and learn in school. You cannot have inequality in education and you want to have peace.
“It is not possible. Unless you are able to equalise the educational system between the north and the south, we will never have peace.
“Nigeria needs peace. We need understanding because if there is no peace, Buhari will not be President, Saraki will not be Senate President, Dogara will not be Speaker of the House. If there is chaos here, everybody will run and nobody will be here. Peace is sacrosanct in every society if we really want to move forward.”
Continuing, Kalu said that going by his background, he was better informed about the happenings in the country having traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria.
According to Kalu, “A country like Nigeria, I have gone through the Sahara desert to the Atlantic Ocean. I am one of the most travelled Nigerians in this place.
“I went to school in two important areas of northern Nigeria – Barewa College and the University of Maiduguri. So, I know this country very well and I started my business association in the deep heart of the Southwest; that is Lagos.
“I have been in the trade of cocoa and cashew nuts. When it was legal to export wood, I was also exporting wood. So, I know deeply, the western part of Nigeria and by birth, I am Igbo.
“So, you can see that fundamentally, I know so much about this country more than most of our leaders because most of our leaders don’t even know Nigeria.”
Kalu further said the peace project embarked upon by the JCI has no political coloration, saying that it was solely about peace for the country.
Kalu noted that none of the political parties in the country was talking about how Nigeria would change, saying that they were all talking about themselves.
He said there was no need to kill to be able to be in power, adding that in order to have a peaceful atmosphere, the nation’s judiciary should be uppermost on everyone’s mind.
According to Kalu, “if there is no rule of law, there will be no society and there will be no peace. If I am quarrelling with you and we go to the worst court in Nigeria, the judgment of that court, whether you are a government or you are an individual, you should abide by the judgment of the court.”
Speaking earlier, the 2018 President of JCI, Ikoyi, and Coordinator, Peace is Possible, Chidiebere Okere, said JCI believed that change should begin with the youths.
Okere added that JCI believed that through collective efforts, change could be achieved in the country.
According to Okere, “What is the solution to our problem today in Nigeria? We said we need peace, that peace is possible in Nigeria and that was how we came up with this campaign that in order for things to work out in our country Nigeria, we need peace.”
Okere added that there is nothing the nation would achieve without peace, noting that when there is peace, there is development, unity and harmony.