Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
As Nigeria keeps struggling to overcome divisive tendencies pulling at the heart of the nation hundreds of Umuahia residents have trooped out to walk for peace and add their voices to the quest to build a fair and just society where Nigerians could live in peace irrespective of ethnic and religious diversities.
The clamour for peaceful co-existence in the country was amply demonstrated on the major roads and streets at the third edition of the Walk for Peace event during which participants carried messages of peace through the city with musical accompaniments.
The President of Vision Africa Radio, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, who has been organising the event for three years running, said that the essence was to bring men and women of shared values together in order to bring peace to the nation.
“It is to celebrate our humanness and oneness as a people,” he said, adding, “There’s nothing that says we can’t exist together though tribes and tongues may differ.”
Onuoha, who has been promoting peaceful co-existence of Nigerians and humanitarians activities, further stated that Vision Africa Radio 104.1 FM was established 17 years ago based on the conviction that “we could build a peaceful Nigeria through the media.
“The radio station is communicating messages of peace and reconciliation the nation,” he said.
The cleric with a heart of gold pointed out that it was his faith in Nigeria that propelled him to establish Vision Africa Radio at a turbulent period when people did not have faith in Nigeria, when people did not believe we could exist together as one and the international community treated Nigeria as a pariah state.
Though the running cost of operating the radio station has continued to rise without commensurate revenue, Onuoha insisted that “the transformation of the society is important to me.
“It is not the money that is important to me but the message of peace,” the Bishop said.
On his humanitarian activities the Methodist Bishop, who just clocked 53 during the week, disclosed that 700, 000 Nigerians have benefitted from medical care in the past 20 years through the annual medical missions of his organisation in collaboration with foreign partners.
According to him, the medical missions have been able to penetrate the rural areas and put smiles on the faces of rural folks who have no access to medical services and in most cases could not even afford the cost of medical care.
While promoting peace and building bridges across the nation, Onuoha has also been campaigning against corrupt practices that have continued to perpetrate poverty in the land, saying that Nigerians should learn to serve the public creditably without stealing public funds.
He said: “It is not the money you make that gives you peace of mind but the larger society,” he said, adding that “what we need to survive is very little; we don’t have to steal public money to survive.”