Just like the saying that “a tree cannot make a forest,” no single individual or group can work 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. This is so for 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 being 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 nation building 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 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?
How pleasant will it be that instead of expending our energy on picking faults in one another, we form a common front to present our case?
Let’s make Niger new, governors have come, governors have gone and governors will still come, but Niger will remain ours.
Mary Noel Barje,