“More than just an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars.”
In the contradiction called Nigeria, to say the least, the density of the centrifugal forces that, may scatter the country are high pitched than the centripetal forces that might bind us. Across the landscapes, drums of war are sounding with deafening precision. Sadly, many that are dancing to these beats are ready for the gyration that may catapult the name Nigeria into dust-bin.
Mao Zedong also known as Chairman Mao, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, had this to say about war. “War is the continuation of politics by other means. When politics develops to a certain stage beyond which it cannot proceed by the usual means, war breaks and the way to oppose a war of this kind is to do everything possible to prevent it before it breaks out. For politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.”
In 1859 on San Juan Island, a chunk of land located between the mainland United States and Vancouver Island. At the time the island was home to American settlers and British employees, a war aptly named the ‘Pig War’ started over an argument over the killing of a pig and it nearly lead to a full-scale conflict between the US and UK. An American farmer named Lyman Cutlar gunned down a British-owned black boar after he discovered the animal rooting through his potato patch. An absurd standoff ensued and the situation remained on a knife-edge for several agonizing weeks. The two nations would finally negotiate a deal allowing for joint military occupation of San Juan Island, thus ending the Pig War as a bloodless stalemate – save for one unfortunate hog.
The Eritrean–Ethiopian War was a conflict that took place between Ethiopia and Eritrea from May 1998 to June 2000, with the final peace only agreed to in 2018; twenty years after the initial confrontation. It started over a fateful incident in the Badme area in Ethiopia where, Ethiopian forces attacked an Eritrean platoon on patrol, killing five officers of the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF).
Eventually, the war ended with an agreement signed which demarcated the border, ceding Badme to Eritrea and agreed a resumption of diplomatic relations. It took the peaceful nature of the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed to stopped what ought not to have been. Eritrea claimed that 19,000 Eritrean soldiers were killed and; most reports put the total war casualties from both sides at 100,000!
It suffices at this juncture before the war beats get many in Nigeria intoxicated and arrest their reasoning capacities, the words of world legends might be apt at this point, so as to prevents Nigeria from going up in flames, a flame that might not settle in our generation.
They said: ‘’Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war – Wilson Churchill; Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous – George Bernard Shaw. In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons – Croesus. One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one – Agatha Christie. An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind – Mahatma Gandhi. Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves – William Hazlitt. We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom-Dwight D. Eisenhower. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children-Jimmy Carter. If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies-Desmond Tutu.
In conclusion, all the above, is to make it imperative for all Nigerians, to do what is humanly possible to prevent an unnecessary war, that will ultimately ends on table of dialogue. And for we, who work for peace we must not falter. We must continue to pray for peace and to act for peace in whatever way we can. We must continue to speak for peace and to live the way of peace; to inspire others. We must continue to think of peace and to know that peace is possible. Because History has shown, that war is not often the solution to contributory catalysts of war. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal we seek.