The noise emanating from those beating the drums of war in the country is getting so loud that there is an urgent need for the other side to be heard. I always try to imagine what Nigeria would have been like if the 1967-70 civil war was never fought. Those who have not seen war call it yam while those who have experienced it and are lucky to be alive know that it is not yam. And this is not the definition of courage. There are so many loud-mouths who take off as soon as war breaks out. Peace is always better than war. Diplomacy should be used rather than military force. I am one of those who believe “that the worst peace is always better than the best war.” And by this I do not mean that we all accept the status quo. We can only accept the status quo if the status quo is okay. And we know that in Nigeria today, it is not. I am an advocate for negotiation. Negotiation is better than war.
That we have disagreement on any issues is not an unhealthy sign of life of our relationships as a nation. But when disagreement turns into hostility and conflict, it becomes a national illness that can sooner or later cause impasse. The death of diplomacy invites the manmade disaster called war and it ruins the biological and cultural wellness or peace in a country. There are strong evidences, for Nigerians to understand that wounds of the last civil war are still visible on the face of this nation. Another war would be worse in every way with millions of deaths, prisoners, widows, orphans, rapes, tortures, intellectual loss, economic loss, technological loss and anything which our country needs. One wonders which country will be able to accommodate the refugees from Nigeria. All these drums of war are based on political-ego and wishful- thinking. Citizens need peace, security and development. Tug of war results nothing but increased ill feeling, hostility, violence and poverty among the people.
War is not a civilized or a dignified way to getting things done properly. Because in wars national development is arrested, education, economy and technology left backward, leaders become cruel and unjust, military becomes expensive and humans become victims. In wartime we have to face dismal national development in terms of educational, health, economic and technological backwardness. The fiscal resources are misused in the form of expensive military systems and procurements, unexpected human crisis compensatory exigencies. Even common people are pushed in to the arena of social insecurity and many cannot feed or house themselves. I call on young Nigerians calling for war to carefully watch the situation in Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and the other war fields of the world. No single war is worth it as many innocent people die.
Human dignity can be advanced in cooperation, not in conflicts so believing that war is safer than peace is plain moronic. War is a very horrible thing that should be avoided at all costs. There is no reason for hundreds if not thousands of people to die in wars when other solutions could have been found. If people would start respecting each other and living their own life peacefully instead of constantly trying to dictate what others are doing, the world would be a much better, safer place for everyone. War does nothing but cause pain and suffering.
Although its protagonists say that war is a quick way to settle differences, it’s much better to go about this settling of differences through non-violent means. War brings about mass suffering and the winner (if any) isn’t necessarily right. If the issue is talked about and worked out with words instead of weapons, the result is always much better. Keeping in view these commonly visible facts and disadvantages of war there is a need to devise the strategies of peace. The grey area between war and peace is undiscovered wisdom which we need to explore to train the minds for peace. Peace is desired by every normal human being as a state of wellness. It is cherished by those who experience uncured trouble caused by illness or long standing conflicts and wars. It’s time for all Nigerians to work with each other rather than against each other. War will never bring peace and security. Peace can be only maintained by empowering the technique of tolerance and reconciliation through various forms of efficient negotiations and mediations. These peace strategies should be projected by the Federal Government and indeed all Nigerians to address the issues, causes and context of conflict at this stage that looks like a pre-war situation. God forbid it gets worse especially as October 1st draws near.
Nonviolent resistance is the practice of achieving goals such as social change through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation while being nonviolent. This type of action highlights the desires of a group that feels that something needs to change to improve the current condition of the resisting group. The modern form of nonviolent resistance was popularized and proven to be effective by the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi in his efforts to gain independence from the British Empire. Other major nonviolent resistance advocates include Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela.
They employed nonviolent resistance tactics such as: information warfare, picketing, marches, vigils, leaf-letting, protest art, protest music and poetry, community education and consciousness raising, lobbying, tax resistance, civil disobedience, boycotts or sanctions, , principled refusal of awards/honors, and general strikes. Nonviolent action differs from pacifism by potentially being proactive and interventionist. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in USA is only one example of a cause that used acts of civil disobedience to cause change. Non-violent demonstrations have also been heavily used to protest wars throughout history. This is a clarion call on IPOB, AYC, OPC, IYC, MOSSAB and all similar groups to jaw-jaw and not war-war. Together we can build a Nigeria of our dreams.
Rev Francis Ejiroghene Waive
Senior Pastor Church of the Anointing Warri Nigeria
Convener of the Free Delta Group