The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged Nigerian leaders to promote peace and rise to the challenges in leading the African continent to achieve its manifest destiny.
He said Nigeria should be strong and provide leadership alongside South Africa and other leaders of the region to be able to develop the continent’s God-given riches for the development of the people therein and for Africa to be able to take her rightful top seat in the world.
Governor Aregbesola gave the charge while addressing the people shortly after he laid the wreath to commemorate 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at the entrance of the State House of Assembly.
The governor who titled his speech, “The Imperative of Peace for Productivity and Prosperity”, described war as deadly, destructive and bad business, noting that no effort must be spared by the African leaders to avoid war.
According to him, “ the long and short of all these is that war is a very bad business. It is costly, deadly and ruinous, even for a supposedly winner.
“It is worse for the loser. Indeed, all are loser in a war. The resources, human and material, used to prosecute wars could have been used for the development of the people. The lesson of history is that nations and people emerged from wars weakened, devastated, poor and vulnerable.
“The worst part is that though nations may decide to go to war or not easily, before the outbreak of hostilities, but it is more difficult and sometimes impossible to decide to stop, thus; we have prolonged and sometimes indeterminate war. This is the hard part.
“We see the devastations of war in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon Sudan, Myanmar (and closer home) in Liberia and Sierra Leone. While some like Liberia and Sierra Leone are fortunate to put the war behind them, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq have found it difficult to stop their own wars.
“Lebanon lost its Paradise as the Pearl of the Middle East status to United Arab Emirates. The mutual antagonism and distrust that the Nigerian Civil War bred are still with us”, he added.
Aregbesola said it has become imperative for Nigerians to work assiduously for the peace of the nation by avoiding anything that could lead to war.
“We were fortunate the first time; we may not be that lucky again, if war should break out in Nigeria this time.
“Through carelessness, thoughtlessness, selfishness, wickedness and hate-mongering, we may unwittingly be pushing our nation towards another war.
“In the interest of the black race, Nigeria must not just exist, but it must be strong to be able to lead the continent to achieve its manifest destiny.
“The greatest riches of the continent are domiciled in the Great Lakes Region comprising of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
“Nigeria should be strong and provide leadership with South Africa and leaders of the region to be able to develop these riches for the development of the people of the continent and for Africa to be able to take her place in the world.
“Essential to achieving this is peace. If there is no peace, we cannot make any progress. If we should slide into war, we can only regress while the rest of the world will not only leave us behind, the gap between us will become widened and unbridgeable.
“We should therefore use the opportunity of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day to call for peace and avoidance of any act or utterance that might create tension and thus, lead to conflict. The best way to honour the memory of the dead is to prevent wars, so that their sacrifice will not be in vain”.
He described peace as foundation for productivity, hence the need for able body persons in the country to mobilise for work and as well discourage idleness and the quest for free money, which is no longer available.
“Each person must generate surplus value from work over his or her own needs, in order for our nation to be prosperous. Peace should therefore lead to productivity which should give us prosperity”, Aregbesola advocated.