By Alao Abiodun
An initiative aimed at promoting peace-building efforts across the nation project YIGBA has been unveiled.
The launch of Project YIGBA, described as the first non-violent line of defense, took place at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
The project convened by Pastor Ladi Thompson, a security consultant, was dedicated to the memory of Oscar Onwudiwe, a pillar and founding member of the initiative.
The event featured drama performance by Spirit of David, poetry recital, presentations and deliberations.
Thompson said: “Yigba is the expression of love which Onwudiwe stood for. It is the first line of defense against the spread of massive bloodletting in Nigeria.
“Yigba is designed to work as a retardant to the hatred, animosity and fear that facilitates the spread of the terrorism hydra.
“Project YIGBA seeks to provide Nigerians with a non-violent alternative to the incendiary narratives bedevilling the nation.
“We believe that Nigeria’s component tribal groups can strengthen their common ideals and progress their common interests, peaceably and without changing their core identity.
“We must rethink Nigeria and re-program the nation for success. To ensure the future, we must re-educate, re-value and provide guidance for the younger generations to avert what’s in the horizon”
Speaking to The Nation, Charles Oputa, aka Charly Boy said youths have not been treated fairly in the country.
“We will start by coming to a roundtable to talk, for people who want to talk, reason and be logical. Then, it is by us uniting — the east, the west, the middle belt — because it was systematic when they put us against each other,” he said.
He said injustice is pervasive and, as such, cuts across every ethnic group and region in Nigeria.
Seasoned speakers, including Yemi Akisanya, Bridget and Tunde Elesin aka Team Elesin, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, Professor Anya .O. Anyam, Pastor Shyngle Wigwe and others unanimously described the project as a major step to national peace-building.
Explaining instances of how the idea of non-violent communication has worked in other climes, Yemi Akisanya noted that the project will borrow the ancient African wisdom in advocating for and promoting non-violent communication.
Akisanya, who is also the coordinator of Project Yigba, said: “Non-violent communication actually resonates with the common ancient African culture of discourses in courts of Kings and the elders…. Call the use of proverbs, if you like, a politeness or peace-maintaining strategy”.
Bridget and Tunde Elesin, speaking on the theme “Product of love”, stated: “Truth be told, our marriage is an affirmation of the Nigeria we all desire, where everyone is a product of love as the love that binds us is greater than the differences we see.”
Another speaker, Agu Imo, explained that the country is dealing with a highly sophisticated war form that has the reputation of collapsing Nations from within.
“Nigeria has now become home to three of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world: Boko Haram, herdsmen and now Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP).
“Even to the blind and somebody impervious to external stimuli, Nigeria is at war. Our security apparatus has no answer to this enemy.”
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