Mary Noel Berje
Just like the saying that “a tree cannot make a forest,” no single individual or group can wroth the needed development of any society. Similarly, a stick of broom cannot do much, but if tied together in a bunch, it makes a lot of difference. So is societal development.
One of the most potent forces of development throughout the history of human civilisation is ‘PEACE’ and elite consensus. Any race, culture or civilization, where the leading lights and elites are not on the same page on issues will hardly develop.
In a nutshell, when men and women of good character work towards the promotion of peace, it can serve as a catalyst for the growth and development in any society and a positive instrument for the improvement of the socio-economic life of citizens and the state at large.
Alas, despite the indispensability of peace to state and national development and progress, many communities in parts of the world are engulfed with security challenges. Ideally, the colossal sums been squandered in search of lasting peace, would have been ploughed into new developmental initiative that will have positive impact on the lives of the people.
Niger State has had its fair share of problems such as conflicts, diseases and poverty in recent years, which successive governments and individuals have attempted to find solutions to!
My concern stems from the fact that we owe it to our children to bequeath a wholesome society as bequeathed to us by our founding fathers. Pulling down the roof because we disagree with our brothers or sisters will not just be a disservice to our peace and comfort but a sad way of mortgaging the future of our children. Of what benefit will it be, if our children inherits the ruins and destruction arising from our inability to manage disagreements.
Our desires should be how to build a society that will inculcate in our children the worthy cause of nationbuilding and patriotism, instead of personal gains and destruction. My personal dream is to see a united people who muster the needed will to fight the cancerous tumor of ‘self’ that has enslaved us to greed and avarice. To small minds, these are dreams are impossibilities but with unity of purpose, it can be achieved. Don’t ask Martin Luther King Jr. but let us ask ourselves, how we arrived at where we are today.
The time is right for us to rise up from the ashes of the past, that has held us down and engage the future through dialogue and reconciliation. Let us dare to engage peace through forgiveness, instead of plotting mayhem as it has always been.
The only way our dear Niger State can experience anything new is to try something new and Peace will always be the new way. How could a once peaceful state become the breeding ground for youths with propensity for violence?
Most times, we dream about matters that we are concerned about and the thought occupies our minds. This is exactly what prompted my “ PATH TO A NIGER OF OUR DREAM.”
Governance as an administrative jurisdiction which enables citizens to carry out their daily lawful businesses without fear of molestation; an administrative jurisdiction with a system of justice that promotes accountability, protects human rights and ensures safety of lives and property and a democratic entity where electorate are free to vote and be voted for in a peaceful political environment should be a collective responsibility.
Governance also could be described as an administrative jurisdiction that ensures abundance of basic needs and for people to co-exist peacefully with ample opportunities for growth and development. However, these lofty objectives of instrument of governance can only be achieved, if eminent personalities, political figures and all men and women of goodwill imbibe the spirit of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and progress of communities, states and Nigeria as a whole.
PEACE is Free but expensive to maintain, while destruction can reduced what took years to build to rubbles, whithin a twinkling of an eye. The pertinent question to ask at this point is: should we as Nigerlites and Nigerians by extension, go for the free gift of God or the destruction that is perpetrated whithin a twinkling of an eye and causes lifetime damage?
Niger state must redeem its lost glory from the shackles of trouble stoked by people who have brought the state to a standstill and are working towards destroying it. Niger state from time immemorial has always been adjudged the most liberal state in Nigeria because it welcomes people of all faiths, tribes and traditions, who are bonded in unity and love.
We must all resolved as brothers and sisters of the same father (Nigeria), not to be dragged into all forms of self-centred interest, so as to free ourselves from the bondage of hatred that is the root of violence.
I dream for a new Niger State circled and surrounded with love, kindness, care and selflessness,which are all attributes that promote PEACE.
This is just the right time we should come together with one goal to rescue our state from the nightmare that is consuming it. Yes, if we form common front, the Federal government will support our collective desire for good roads which we once enjoyed but now taken over by articulated trucks and Trailers…
To achieve our desires as a people, peace, unity and tolerance is necessary. Thank goodness that God has given us the platforms that can help promote unity and tolerance amongst us. Our two major religions constituted more than 95 percent of our population. Hence it becomes easy for us to leverage on religious consensus to achieve harmony and by extension, development.
Christianity as a religion encourages tolerance, which is a necessary recipe for peaceful co-existence. The Holy Bible, for instance, in the book of Mathew 5vs9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be recognised as children of God.” So, except for spirit of rebellion and disobedience to divine ordinance, why would a Christian delight him or herself in promoting hatred and intolerance?
Similarly, Islam means peace. It encourages us to be our brothers’ keeper. Hadith (Jamit at Tirmidhi 2510) said “…You will not believe until you love each other…spread the peace among each other.” If Hadith enjoined Muslims to spread the message of peace, why are we at each other throat? Why can’t we come together to achieve lasting peace, so we can develop?
How pleasant will it be that instead of expending our energy on picking faults on one another, we form a common front to present our case?
Let’s make Niger new, Niger is ours, Niger will remain ours.
Governors have come, Governors have gone and Governors will still come, but as Nigerlites, we will still be standing together as a people, so also is our state.
May God grant us peace, prosperity and protection at all times.
•Mrs Mary Noel Barje is the
Chief Press Secretary to Niger State Governor