Peace as panacea for progress, development in Nasarawa

Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule

Peace as panacea for progress, development in Nasarawa

It has been generally agreed that peace is imperative for any form of development to take place. In fact, there is no gainsaying the fact that the main prerequisite and condition for the attainment and fulfilment of the God given potentials of a state like Nasarawa is peace.

Democracy which is commonly defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people, supports peace. Democracy supports peaceful relations between the citizens of a state, economic prosperity and fuller development of people.

It’s an undeniable fact that peace makes possible the development of stable political institutions, more productive economic activity and a more civilized and enlightened social life.

Without establishing a stable climate of peace, human rights cannot be safeguarded, democratic institutions cannot function effectively, prosperity cannot flourish, and human beings cannot discover their higher capacities for external achievement and inner fulfilment.

In a democracy such as ours, people have a choice between different candidates and political parties who want the power to govern, which was amply demonstrated when the people of Nasarawa State turned out en masse to elect Governor Abdullahi Sule during the 2023 governorship election.

The same democracy provides the avenue for those political actors who may be dissatisfied with the outcome of such elections to ventilate their grievances through the agency of the law courts, as can be seen through the actions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Mr. David Ombugadu who went to court to challenge the election and subsequent declaration of Governor Sule as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

By going to the courts to seek redress and thereby testing the principles of democracy, Ombugadu and his party, the PDP have chosen the path of peace rather than self-help with its attendant negative consequences.

Self-help is alien to the democratic tenets and has the grave potentials to disrupts the peace necessary for progress and development.

It’s therefore not surprising that immediately after the supreme court upheld and reaffirmed his election, bringing to an end the 10-month long legal battle for the soul of Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule spoke to the people of the state on the imperative of living in peace with one another.

The call for unity and peaceful coexistence by Governor Sule is not only timely but apt, especially against the backdrop of the tension and mutual suspicion that characterized the 2023 governorship election, particularly with the forceful introduction of religion and ethnicity into the politics of the state.

This call for peace has even become necessary considering that even while the PDP and its candidate approached the courts to ventilate their grievances, their supporters have however embarked on acts that were clearly in total breach of the principles of democracy as recognized by law.

It’s on record that desperate members of the opposition have gone to the length as to threaten the peaceful coexistence prevailing in Nasarawa State if Ombugadu does not become governor. The nudity show of shame goes beyond the freedom of expression allowed in a democracy to border on gross abuse and disrespect for womanhood.

Not only that, the war-like stance taken by supporters of the PDP governorship candidate, who were willing to pour into the streets and to barricade roads while molesting and harassing innocent citizens, stood out as a defiance to acceptable democratic norms.

Certain actions of the supporters of Ombugadu readily brings back the sad memory of that dark moment in the history of Nasarawa State when the outlawed and murderous Eggon cult group, the Ombatse reigned terror across the state.

The clandestine meetings around the Eggon Hills, where Eggon youths were indoctrinated with crude and uncivilized ideology of a non existence supremacy.

Immediately after the judgement by the supreme court on Friday affirming the election of Governor Sule, there were reports of supporters of the PDP candidate taking to the streets to protest the pronouncement by the apex court, barricading the streets and fanning embers of disunity.

This quick resort to self-help through the agency of violence must not only be condemned but must be seen as a threat to peace and sustainable development of Nasarawa State.

All well meaning citizens of the state should answer the call by Governor Sule to unite and live in peace with one another. Certainly, as the Governor noted, without unity and peace, Nasarawa State may not be able to utilize its enormous God given potentials.

The citizens of the state must hearken to Governor Sule’s call to shun acts capable of fanning embers of disunity especially along ethnicity and religion, and to join hands together with his administration to further bring development to the state.

And for the opposition, it’s time for their leadership to call their supporters to order. The election have been won and lost. It’s time for bridge building across artificial divides. It’s not time to fan the embers of war.

For Ombugadu, a young man whose prospects is not dimmed despite the series of loses at the polls, it would serve his political purpose to reign in his supporters who may think otherwise and who may consider going the extra mile to cause the breach of peace in the state.

The people of the state must come together to support Governor Sule, a purposeful, focused and committed leader, who has come to change the narrative as far as sustainable development is concerned.

Nasarawa State needs peace to develop. Nasarawa does not need another Ombatse onslaught that would only bring about stagnation in the development aspirations of the state.

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