By Efio-Ita Nyok| 27 March 2015| 7:00 am
28 March and 11 April will go down well in the annals of this country as designated days in which Nigerians decided in favour of either 'change or transformation'.
Considering the quality of opposition posed against the ruling political party, namely, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) by the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the 2015 general elections billed for Saturdays 28 March and 11 April, there have been repeated calls for peace before, on and after elections. Numerous peace accords have been endorsed. In this edition, the political desk of Negroid Haven (NH) as chaired by Efio-Ita Nyok shall explore reasons why Nigerians should subscribe to a politics of nonviolence during the forthcoming elections.
1. Nigerians Partake In the Concept of 'Humanity'.
Nigerians are human beings; and humans, amongst other things, have been described as being rational. That is, they think, reason, reflect, contemplate, etc over issues. To resort to violence will undermine this illustrious paraphernalia that all humans share in. Violence doesn't suggests that we think, etc. It speaks otherwise. No right thinking Nigerian should resort to violence. There are institutions to address our displeasure of any sort, including that of politics.
2. It Will Ensure Continued Unity.
Nigeria comprises over 250 ethnicities. She is a multilingual society. It's a beautiful thing to see all these disparate tribes blending into a lump called Nigeria. Other members of the international community admire this uniqueness. Part of our greatness subsist in our unity in the midst of diversity. Violence will undermine this beautiful phenomenon. It will challenge the fact that Nigeria is not 'a mere geographical expression'. Love is the greatest theme.
3. It Will Define Our Sovereign National Genius(SNG).
By sovereign national genius (SNG) I mean to refer to that distinctive feature that defines any sovereign nation as been unique. Every state has this. For Nigeria it is -resilience!
You often here people say that Nigeria is an enigma, that a little as what happen in Nigeria, happen to other countries which causes the extinction of those countries, but more than that happen to Nigeria, and she still continues unfettered, as if nothing happened. Resilience is our 'selling point', it's our distinguishing genius. To resort to violence is to betray this national spirit.
4. Politics Is Diametrically Opposed To Violence.
It was Dr. Myles Munroe who said that when purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable. When the essence of politics is not known, then the abuse of it is certain. If we resort to violence it suggest very strongly that we are ignorant of the purpose of politics. Politics entails the means by which any human society determine which view of government should prevail. Thus, it embodies negotiation. This explain why some refer to it as the peaceful means of resolving conflict. Here, one bring to mind the popular phrase: 'political solution', as against military solution. It stands to reason then that to then employ violence, as a means of determining which party should be voted into power, implies that you don't understand politics. In fact, you are negating the very essence of politics. We should play the game according to its rule. Any individual seeking public office but encourages violence is not a politician.
5. Violence Is Not A Component of Africa's Traditional Values.
Africa is distinctive from other continents of the world courtesy of its values system. For instance, scholars argue that Africans have respect for religion and the sacred. J. S. Mbiti once remarked in one of his seminal pieces that a typical African is 'notoriously religious'. Besides religion, the typical African has a value for life. Put differently, the value for human life is a paramount component of our values system. Nigeria is a leading African state and should thus express this value in preeminent degrees. Violence -political or otherwise, is 'un-African'.
6. The Strategic Implication of Nigeria's Political Violence In Africa.
Apart from the fact that violence is 'un-African', political violence in Nigeria will certainly have a spiral effect on West African states and the continent as a whole. That is to say, as a big brother in Africa, political stability or otherwise, have consonant effects on other African countries. Would you want Africa to be sliced off the universe because of our irresponsibility? Nigeria's political instability or otherwise is Africa's political instability or otherwise. Let's strengthen democratic ideals in Africa by not resorting to political violence.
7. Democracy Is Absolutely About The People.
Democracy was rightly defined as government of, for and by the people. Democracy is not of, by and for the elite(Oligarchy). Political instability/violence ensues when we mistake democracy to be the latter rather than the former. Rigging or any other shade of electoral malpractice is anti the people. Exploring the route of violence to address discontent is anti the people. The people -the Nigerian people, should occupy a paramount place in the scheme of things among politicians. Anything they intend to do should be done in view of the people. Nothing more, nothing less. They should ask them selves, if all these people die because of me, who then would I govern?
We should give thoughts to these submissions as we cast our votes beginning from tomorrow in favour of whatsoever party of our choice.
We should remember and always remember that peace is one of the greatest themes.
Long live Nigeria!