By Emmanuel Afonne
A Civil Society Group, United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFP), has urged Nigerians to shun any act capable of truncating the peace enjoyed by the citizens and foreigners as the country celebrates 60 years of independence.
The Executive Director of UGRFP, Mr Shalom Olaseni, made the appeal in a statement on Thursday on the country’s 60 years of independence.
He said the country had a lot to thank God for in spite of the challenges confronting it.
Olaseni noted that the peaceful approach adopted by nationalists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Tafewa Balewa, during the struggle for independence was what the country needed now to overcome its trying times.
“UGRFP, recognising the anxiety and unrest that permeates Nigeria at the moment may be manipulated by certain groups and people for parochial gains, hereby encourages all Nigerians to be more peaceful in registering their agitations and dissatisfaction with government.
“Only a peaceful referendum is welcomed in our much evolved world, we therefore encourage all misgivings, apprehensions and demands to be channelled with civility and in respect of state laws that seek to keep peace and order.
“While we do admit that it is not yet ‘Uhuru’ for Nigeria and Nigerians, we must be reminded of the evil of aggressive revolution as the Civil War so evidences,” he said.
“Genuine efforts must be made to create change in a peaceful atmosphere with unhindered respects to free speech, movement and association.
“We at the United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP) remain optimistic that the great potential of this nation will be achieved through concerted political will and the belief of the citizenry.
“We will continue to serve advisory roles to the nation and its people, while pursuing and encouraging peaceful means for the emancipation of the Nigerian people from all forms of hardship.”
Olaseni noted that the 60 years of independence should be an opportunity for the ruling class to reflect on the challenges bedeviling the country and work towards making it better.
According to him, politicians should always embark on actions that unite the nation, rather than promote things that divide it.
“Over the years, Nigeria has struggled with balancing interests across ethnic and religious groups, making gains in some years only to lose same in others.
“It is hoped that today’s Independence Day Remembrance will offer a moment of sober reflection and a searching of the soul of this country for the better.
“The rising cost of living against the backdrop of a fallen standard of living, insecurity – physical and economic, sectarian violence and calls for the dissolution of Nigeria have become the steadfast lamentation of its citizenry.
“This must thus impress on the leaders of this nation the truth that a lot more has gone wrong than right, and further that this necessitates a change in its policy direction and general governance,” he added. (NAN)