By Mohammed Abba Gana
Let me also go by what has now become the convention here in Nigeria by uttering ‘All protocols observed’. I preface my statement with the seemingly unproblematic contention that peace within the family, among individuals, within nations and organisations is so important for human existence. The question, however, is how much of peace do individuals, families, nations and the world need.
‘Unfortunately’, peace and unity are never too much in any given society. There is no normal individual, community or organisations that can say that there is too much peace for the comfort of the people. Peace is the state of nature of perfect harmony and equilibrium among a society’s components. Wherever there is peace, there is also unity among the people. So, if we work for peace, we also get unity as a bonus. This happens because wherever there is peace, there is absence of anger, bitterness, acrimony, hatred and the Satan among the people. So, peace should be pursued and embraced as a fundamental virtue and an end in itself rather than a means to an end.
Though peace is very essential for the sustenance of human civilisation and existence, it cannot be achieved or sustained unless supported by four pillars governance. These are security, development in all its ramifications, equal spread of prosperity and rule of law. No nation can expect to have peace where the vast majority are hungry, in extreme poverty, unemployment and where the income inequality is wide and increasing. In obvious realisation of this, the United Nations has tried to keep faith with engendering security, development in a holistic manner. Clearly, the nature of peace in all circumstances is comparable to winning a trophy in an obstacle race consisting of creating/bringing security, development in all its ramifications, spreading of prosperity for the vast majority of the people and rule of law.
Looking at the state of the human society today in many jurisdictions with so much injustice in various forms, insecurity, massive and ever increasing unemployment, hunger and severe poverty, lack of basic education and health care, increasing income inequality gap, infringement of human rights and civil liberty, the objectives of achieving worldwide social justice, peaceful coexistence, honourable livelihood and freedom from hunger in all continents and islands of this world should be the core agenda of the United Nations for the 21st century along with management of climate change. For the security of human civilisation, it is self-evident that we need worldwide peace, meaning the achievement of worldwide prosperity. This is achievable once there is fairness and justice in all our dealings and transactions. In all these, the Universal Peace Foundation has very important roles to play. Thank you for listening.
Gana, Minister for the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria, 1999 – 2003 made this statement recently at the Universal Peace Federation’s Special Dinner for Peace, Abuja.