Rev. John Joseph Hayab is the Country Director for Global Peace Foundation Nigeria. Hayab also currently serves as the Kaduna State Coordinator of Faith Actors Dialogue Forum (FADF). Hayab served as a Special Adviser on Christian Matters to two former Governors of Kaduna State and was a member of the Kaduna State Inter-Religious Harmony Committee for about 15 years. He is the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna State Chapter and also the Acting Chairman of the Association in the 19 Northern States and Federal Capital Territory.
Today marks another day of global commemoration of the International Day of Peace, a day set aside as one of the most important days in every calendar year. This day is undoubtedly significant to every human, irrespective of creed, race, gender, ethnicity, and other divides. As our world celebrates high-level technological advancements, we must also understand that such developments continue to widen the gaps in our narrow identities, thereby making conflicts and violence a norm even as they continually threaten our existence as humans.
Also, the constant emergence of more lines of divide and the deliberate efforts of confident entrepreneurs of conflict that continue to threaten the oneness of humanity continue to make the realization of a more peaceful world seemingly unattainable. Consequently, we cannot overemphasize that the socio-economic development of every human society hinges on peace and stability, which depends on the humans in that society. It behoves us all to seek and work for peace much more than we desire and yearn for growth and development.
As a result, let me use this occasion to felicitate with the Global Peace Foundation, the United Nations General Assembly, and all peace lovers and ambassadors across the globe on the 2023 International Day of Peace. In the spirit of the day, therefore, we call on all families, communities, groups, and nations under any crisis that continues to endanger human life to rethink, sheathe their swords, and embrace dialogue to resolve their conflicts.
At a time when hunger, poverty, and artificial and natural disasters are enough threats to us, humanity should not be seen as an additional threat to itself, so let us give peace a chance. Moreover, to recognize the importance of peace, the United Nations General Assembly expressly set aside September 21 as the International Day of Peace.
For two decades now, the International Day of Peace has been devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and peoples. This day of annual observance is marked to discuss how to promote and maintain peace among all people irrespective of color, ethnicity, or religion and 24 hours of global ceasefire and non-violence for groups in active combat. In as much as the marking of this day is laudable, we must all understand that peace is beyond a day but must be seen and made part of our daily lives.
Ladies and gentlemen, sadly but rightly so, you all will agree that despite the incredible efforts and enormous financial investment in peacebuilding by partners worldwide, peace and attaining a peaceful society continue to elude us. That is why the celebration of an international day for peace is significant so that we remind ourselves of the importance of peace in everyday life.
Being marked for the past forty years, when the idea of a World Peace Day was birthed, the International Day of Peace 2023 theme is “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the Global Goals.” The theme is a wake-up call to recognize how our individual and collective actions can affect and foster global peace. Notably, we are at a time when war and violence repeatedly dominate the news, conversations, and interactions. Today is an inspiring reminder of what we can create, nurture, and sustain together: peace.
Therefore, today’s clarion call is for all humans to understand that every little action for peace, both in the open and in the secret, counts. Besides, we must all be open to working together to find solutions to problems and challenges of peace. So, we must all think, ask, and learn what we can each do individually and collectively to make our families, communities, states, nations, and the world peaceful.
For us at Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, it is either peace or nothing, so we continue to wage peace through the umbrella of One Family under God. Today, like always, we advocate that we look at man based on humanity before the differences in religion, ethnicity, tribe, and region. This day reminds us that regardless of where we come from, what language we speak, and what religion we practice, we are more alike as humans than we are different. We must, therefore, collectively strive to promote a culture of peace to attain the socio-economic development we all desire.
GPF Nigeria has conducted numerous engagements in various communities in Kaduna State and other locations in Nigeria toward mitigating violence, reconciling differences, and promoting peaceful coexistence. Accordingly, as part of this year’s International Peace Day, in furtherance of our engagement with various stakeholders to support the peace campaign, GPF Nigeria is marking the day at three locations; Kaduna town in the northwest, Lapai, Lapai Local Government of Niger State in north-central, and Jos, Plateau State also in north-central Nigeria, where GPF Nigeria recently kick-started a peace project.
In the efforts underlined above, I must boldly say that so much has been said about the need for all stakeholders and the people of Nigeria to embrace peace. It is now time to manifest the sincerity of our various conversations as a government, religious leaders, traditional rulers, and people by practically working for peace rather than just talking about it.
For the above-highlighted goals to be achieved, we must;
- SEEK TO UNDERSTAND
Around the world, we are more alike than different, so we must seek common ground and understand and value the differences we find in the people we meet and cultures we experience different from our own. We can have peace when we endeavor to see someone else’s perspective.
- PROMOTE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STABILITY
Eliminating poverty, food insecurity, and social injustice leads to a more robust culture of peace by removing common causes of unrest and violence. We should, therefore, as much as we can partner with the government to reduce poverty in our communities and societies.
- RESPECT ALL HUMAN RIGHTS
At the core of peaceful relations is the belief that all humans are valuable; no group is better than or superior to another. So, we should all see how we can contribute to this understanding in our spheres of influence.
- ADVOCATE FOR EQUALITY
Support the advancement of women in our society through political and economic initiatives; actively oppose violence against women and girls in your community; and promote the elimination of discrimination in the workplace.
- CHANGE DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES
Encourage the democratic participation of all people in your community so that every voice is heard in civic decision-making. Corruption in political leadership and operations is eliminated, not minding religious belief or inclination. We can all contribute to the worldwide culture of peace if each of us does one little thing to bring about peace.
Once more, hearty felicitations from us at Global Peace Foundation Nigeria to the United Nations General Assembly and the entire human race on this International Peace Day 2023.
Thank you and GPF Nigeria appeals to all humanity to endeavor to live together as One Family under God.
Read more stories on International Day of Peace 2023.