By Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has advocated for justice, dialogue, and tolerance as the key instruments for building peace in the society.
Ekweremadu observed that mankind was “besieged by a groundswell of intolerance, injustice, racial discrimination, and ethnic hatred, leading to violence, conflicts, extremism, terrorism, insurgency, and all forms of restiveness”.
Speaking at the first procedural session of the International Parliament for Tolerance and Peace (IPTP), which was launched in Valetta, Malta, at the weekend, the lawmaker, urged governments to always toe the path of dialogue, rather than force, in resolving issues.
He recalled that the use of force to quell militancy in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region failed until dialogue and amnesty were applied, while the controversial death of the spiritual leader of the Boko Haram sect in 2009, Mohammed Yusuf, led to the ascendency of a highly radical leadership, which effectively transformed the sect into a full-blown terrorist organisation.
“So, dialogue, tolerance, and soft power are not only capable of averting conflicts, they win the peace, and win people over. Even when nations and societies resort to violence and military force, they ultimately end up around the table to agree on peace terms or sign the instruments of surrender. Besides, winning the war is not the same as winning the peace,” he said.
“Importantly, whatever we do, we must bear in mind that justice is a bedrock and natural enabler of peace. Justice is so central to peace, security, and prosperity of the human society that the Oath of Office contained in most constitutions seek to ensure that leaders do justice to all manner of people,” he said.
“Societies run into storms when leaders observe this all-important oath in the breach and elevate bigotry and inequity to state policy. They forget that no man, who feels unjustly treated will be interested in peace. We must do justice, giving every segment of the society a sense of belonging”, he added.
Ekweremadu lauded the setting up of the IPTP to help mobilise and direct global resources and energies towards strengthening the human virtues, especially tolerance and justice that promote peace.