There is hardly an observer of global developments, who is not worried about security and political situations in Africa. Africa is noted as an arena of some of the most senseless and vicious conflicts. Our elders must come together for the sake of posterity. According to Judith Maxwell, ‘Social cohesion refers to the processes of building shared values and communities of interpretation, reducing disparities in wealth and income, and generally enabling people to have a sense that they are engaged in a common enterprise, facing shared challenges, and that they are members of the same community.In the words of Rigoberta Menchu: ‘’Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy; democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples. ”Yet, if can invest in a different vision of peaceful coexistence, I think we can change the world, because every problem has a nonviolent answer.’’ Rigoberta Menchu is only 63 years old and has since 1996 enjoyed the status of a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She is also a Nobel Laureate for Peace.
•Negotiation and discussion are the greatest weapons we have for promoting peace and development – Nelson Mandela
•“The very diversity of our peoples, and customs and languages, means that we have much to contribute to each other. If we can keep the larger vision in view, if we do not spoil the opportunity that lies before us by petty and inglorious side issues, these African States may yet achieve what the independent and warring States of Europe and the volatile and sometimes undemocratic States of the Americas have never yet accomplished, that is, a unity undreamt of; and become models of honest and democratic government, which will give hope to all Africa and offer a challenge to the rest of the world. – Nnamdi Azikiwe; on the occasion of the visit of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah to Eastern Nigeria in 1959
•It is safer and wiser to cure unhealthy rivalry than to suppress it.’’ — Obafemi Awolowo.
•I think that nonviolence is one way of saying that there are other ways to solve problems, not only through weapons and war. Nonviolence also means the recognition that the person on one side; and the person on the other side of the trench are both human beings, with the same faculties. At some point they have to begin to understand one another. — Rigoberta Menchu
•Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in Parliament in September 1957, he said: “we must recognize our diversity and the peculiar conditions under which the different tribal communities live in this country. ‘’To us in Nigeria, therefore, unity in diversity is a source of great strength, and we must do all in our power to see that this federal system of government is strengthened and maintained.”
•We need to promote greater tolerance and understanding among the peoples of the world. Nothing can be more dangerous to our efforts to build peace and development than a world divided along religious, ethnic or cultural lines. In each nation, and among all nations, we must work to promote unity based on our shared humanity. – Kofi Annan
•“It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” — Nelson Mandela
•“Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste, or any other social markers of difference. Religion, ethnicity, language, social and cultural practices are elements which enrich human civilization, adding to the wealth of our diversity. Why should they be allowed to become a cause of division and violence? We demean our common humanity by allowing that to happen.” — Nelson Mandela.
As for our restless relatively young ones who have the right to hold leaders accountable these days of global poverty, I say this could be done without violence that does no one any good. I would recommend the DR. DK Olukoya formula headlined: YOUNG & OLD — THE WHOLE WORLD IS WAITING FOR AFRICA. Olukoya in one of his ministrations asserted that: ‘’My dear young people; why not learn a vocation in addition to your degree and start your own business? With Chinese products gradually becoming expensive, Africa can be the next factory to the world to replace China. We can become the world’s solar energy headquarters if we could develop cheaper solar panels using our local materials. With so much land available, farming for export is a wonderful opportunity.
‘’Our young people should consider converting the internet and social networking sites to forums for sharing best practices with their overseas counterparts on how to modernize artisan professions like building, mechanic, tailoring, textile design, farming, metal work, etc. The world is eagerly waiting for our products in the global market. Beloved, the streets of America and Europe are not paved with gold. They were built over many centuries by men like us, who sacrificed by investing in themselves and their fellow countrymen. Their children are reaping the dividends today.” -DR DK OLUKOYA.
On his part, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group has counselled innumerable times that: ‘’The future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe, but in a prosperous Africa. “We must turn rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This requires new agricultural innovations and transforming agriculture into a sector for creating wealth. ‘’We must make agriculture a really cool choice for young people. The future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come initially from agriculture. ‘’A more prosperous Africa will emerge through keeping young people productive and engaged. “Even insects migrate from where it is dark to where there is light,” Adesina said. “No wonder Africa’s youth – our assets – take huge risks migrating to Europe, looking for a better life.”
YOUTHS & MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE:
Lastly, l should like to end this piece with a quote by Nelson Mandela on the role of youths in making the world a better place: “To the youth of today, I also have a wish to make: Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as stars that showed the way towards a brighter future.” “Today we should all ask ourselves: What have I done to improve the surroundings in which I live?”
These views could form some of the planks of discussions by our elders who could insist on providing an enabling environment for youth development. And we all who have parental roles to play, in particular the government and parents have a huge role to play in charting a good course for youth development”
May the Good Lord bless Nigeria. As we all continue to contribute our quota to societal development