By Ikechukwu Odu
ENUGU—-The Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on Wednesday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to pursue peaceful co-existence and fair play amongst the residents of the state.
This is even as the former Minister of Power, Venerable Professor Chinedu Nebo, has equally called for equity, justice and fairness in the treatment of all the geo-political zones in Nigeria.
Governor Ugwuanyi who spoke as the Special Guest of Honour at an event christened ‘End Racism, Build Peace,’ organised by the Institute for Peace, Conflict and Development Studies, IPCDS, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, to mark the 2022 International Day of Peace, equally said that the world had not abandoned the desire for peace, especially, as many countries of the world are war-torn.
The Governor who was represented by the Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, therefore, enjoined residents of the state to pursue peace in all their daily endeavours in order for Enugu to maintain its position as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.
Also, while speaking as the Chairman of the occasion, Professor Nebo, stated that “nobody should be treated as a second class citizen in Nigeria.”
He maintained that there can never be peace in a country where the citizens are unfairly and unjustly treated.
“Let’s remember that racism is almost a generic term used to define discrimination in all forms; whether it is nepotism , class, religious, economic or social discrimination. Racism cuts across the entire gamut of all of these. Let’s remember that there can never be peace without justice, equity and fairness.
“These three things are what we are demanding from Nigeria today. No Nigerian should be treated as a second class citizen in his country, we should always remember that,” he said.
While discussing the topic ‘ A Call to Transformational Discipleship,’ the Keynote Speaker, Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike, described ‘peace’ as the fruit of justice.
The Monsignor who spoke through the Zoom network on the subtopics:truth, the human ecology, matters of dignity and racism, equally urged Nigerians to look internally to build on foundations which make peace possible.
“Peace is not possible without justice. If you want peace, work for justice, do that which is right and just.
“One foundation that makes peace possible is truth. When we speak truth to ourselves, peace will be possible. Truth is life as the Igbos would always say, and there is life only where peace exists. As long as people live a lie, tell a lie, deceive themselves and the generality of the people, peace would not be possible, and life would not be free.
“Peace is built on a foundation of justice but justice cannot exist without truth. When we look at truth, we look at the country where we are applying the event of today, and that is the environment of the country, Nigeria that lives and tells lies,” he said.
The Monsignor also said that peace can equally be achieved through friendly human activities on the environment and urged the audience to avoid acts which jeopardise the human ecology.
The event equally featured the civic reception of two illustrious sons of Enugu, Professor Aloysius-Michaels Okolie, Vice Chancellor, ESUT, and Prof. Osita Okanya, Chairman, Enugu State Local Government Service Commission, who are faculty members of IPCDS, for their recent appointments by the Enugu State Government.
Earlier in his address, the Director of IPCDS, Professor Felix Asogwa, said that the global community is in dire need of peace due to the pervasive conflicts and wars in almost all the corners of the world.
He explained that it was in a bid to achieve world peace that made United Nations to map out September 21st every year to draw attention to the urgent need for a more peaceful world and to honour those who have made significant impacts in advancing the course of peace in the various parts of the world.
He also explained that IPCDS, a leading research Institute in Nigeria in the areas of peace, conflict management and development, decided to key into the UN mandate and mission in projecting the ideals of global peace and security.
He equally said the the Institute honoured two of its foundation members, Professor Okolie, the Vice Chancellor of the ESUT, and the Chairman, Enugu State Local Government Service Commission, Professor Okanya, following their recent appointments by the Enugu State Government. He said that their elevation is a testimony of the great quality of the Institute’s faculty membership.
The highlight of the event was the award presentations to the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Bishop Michael Eneje of the blessed memory; the Anglican Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev Aloysius Agbo.
Other awardees include Justice A.A Nwobodo; Justice C.C Nweze; Angella Gbanite, Rita Okwor among others.