Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan of Abuja’s Remarks at the Opening Plenary, GPLC 2013

Global Peace Foundation
November 7, 2013

Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan

Global Peace Leadership Conference

November 7-9, 2013

Abuja, Nigeria

Theme: “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Building Sustainable Peace for a Prosperous Future”

Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria

Chairman of this gathering, all our former heads of states, permit me to say as in Nigeria, “All protocols observed.” You will notice in your program there is no mention of John Cardinal Onaiyekan. I am not in the program. I have just been asked to say a few words.

But like a preacher that I am, we are always ready at every moment, to speak, and to say something positive. First, to thank the organizers of this forum, for bringing this to our country, Nigeria. This has been done already.
“Moral and Innovative Leadership to build sustainable peace for a prosperous future”, almost every word of that formulation is a subject of a discussion. Our world is riddled with problems, especially as far as the challenges to peace are concerned. They play on television everyday there is war, conflicts all over the world. And that is a pity.

The poor bear the brunt of most of these conflicts, women and children, elderly, the sick, are neglected as a result. As a whole, many communities are stagnating. The country that you are in, Nigeria, is almost facing such a problem, but we keep praying that God will protect and save us from the worst.

But the good news, my brothers and sisters is that, there are so many wonderful initiatives, a whole lot of people, who are not satisfied with sitting down and watching the world destroy itself. We have seen it in Nigeria, so many initiatives, from NGOs, from private individuals, from religious groups, even government, too.

And I think this is the spirit of God, the community, to rise up and do something. Not alone on our own national level, but we have seen it on the world level. There are many organizations and associations, not only the Global Peace Foundation, but other organizations that are interested in what we are saying now, interested in building peace, with innovation, with new ideas, different from all that we have been trying so far, that is getting us nowhere.

And, we really do hope that these various positive movements will succeed, especially to find a way to link hands, so that together, we can come out with some new ways of approaching the problems of our world. Because we are in a new world, this new world of ours, where we are so linked together, this so-called globalization. With technologically, we are already one-family. They speak of the global village, unfortunately, politics are way behind schedule, they have to catch up, so that we can really live as one family, under one God.

So these various initiatives, we need to link hands. And global, in my own understanding, means, we shouldn’t only be interested in the peace of our own nation, we should be interested in the peace of the entire human family.

Someone says that, “There is no security for any nation, until all the world is secure.” So no matter how much you do about your own national security, if there is insecurity elsewhere, we are still not secure. So that is global.
But I would rather want to stress the global dimension, in the sense as the representative of Sultan (of Sokoto) has just mentioned, that there are actions to be taken by different people with different competencies, and all these must link hands together. Namely, politics, the public sector, the economic powers, the industrial powers, banking and finance and so on.

And we must not forget the religious. Not only because religious people have a special message to give, but because by in large, almost everybody is somehow religious. Never mind what some people are saying, it is said now that more than 80% of the people in the world say that they believe in a religion. So, we cannot ignore that.

As religious leaders, we do our best. But this kind of meeting is a great encouragement to us, because it gives us an opportunity to meet great politicians, big business people, great thinkers, even the media. By the time we join hands together “globally” we will be able to make an impact.

We thank you for inviting me and giving me time to talk out of schedule. And we pray that God will give success to the work of our hands.

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