By ABEL JOHNGOLD ORHERUATA
The National Association of Seadogs, (NAS) AKA Pyrates Confraternity, has maintained that, for peace to emerge, rule of law, democracy, and respect for fundamental rights which are interlinked, should be promoted in a horizontal, integrated and comprehensive manner.
This was noted in a zoom discourse organized by the Vito Corsica Deck of the Pyrates Confraternity to celebrate this year’s International Days for Democracy (September 15) and Peace (September 21), 2021.
The discourse themed: “True Democracy: Panacea For Peace in Nigeria”, had Rev. Fr. Dr. Kenneth Oraegbunem (Asst. Prof Faculty of Law) Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State and Prof. Jaja Nwanegbo of Political Science Department, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State, as guest speakers, while it was moderated by Hajia Rafatu Salami, an Assistant Director, Digital Media Department, Voice of Nigeria (VoA), Abuja.
In his remarks, the Cap’n (President) of Vito Corsica Deck of NAS, Engr. Emeka Okolo, said the lecture to commemorate the International Day of Democracy, was to review the State of Democracy and its goals, with full participation and support of every individual.
He disclosed that the International Days of Democracy and Peace are annual calendar events of the United Nations, that have been running for years, adding that they were UN days of observations and the purpose of the days were to review the state of democracy in the world in order to uphold and promote democracy and its principles.
“On the days, individuals and organisations of all kinds, work together for democracy and hold events to raise awareness of democracy, including conferences, discussions and debates, as well as press conferences and publicity campaigns, through distribution of leaflets, posters and flyers”. Engr. Okolo stated.
In his lecture titled: “Observing The Rule Of Law In A Democracy: Recipe For Peace In Nigeria”, Rev. Fr. Oraegbunam, opined that rule of law, democracy, peace and respect for fundamental rights, which are essential building blocks of modern societies, lie at the heart of any society whose aim is to promote the well-being of its citizens.
The Associate Professor of Law averred that as important as they were, their realization cannot be taken for granted, as they have to be sought and worked for.
According to Oraegbunam “In a constantly changing political and societal landscape like Nigeria, these values and principles should not be taken as settled. Nigeria is currently passing through a phase that is marked by tension, injustice, inequity, corruption, impunity, and a general sense of hopelessness and dissatisfaction.
“There are agitations against lopsided appointments, marginalization and unfair distribution of resources and amenities. There are also cases of selective application of the rule of law by which, for instance, the government choose particular court orders to obey and which ones to disobey. These inequitable situations have often led to calls that are detrimental to the unity of the country.
“The result is lack of peace and much suffering in the country in the form of poverty, hunger, joblessness, insecurity, violence, fear… the list is endless. Nigeria appears to be under siege.
“Nigeria today experiences upsurge in killings due to cases of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, assassinations, and activities of terrorists, insurgents, militias and the so-called ‘unknown gunmen’,” the Prof. added.
“This perilous situation leaves the citizenry jittery, frightened and traumatised. Many parts of our nation are still in disarray. The country is badly divided. This is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities. In Nigeria today, qualities of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights, observance of the rule of law, to mention only these, are still deficient,” he expatiated.
Presenting his paper, titled “Uniting The Monkeys and Baboons For The Security Of Democracy In Nigeria: Discourse On The Matters Arising”, Prof. Nwanegbo said that the quality of education would determine the progress of a society, adding that the nation’s education was declining.
He said that negative perceptions had consumed larger parts of the masses heart and that only equal recognition and treatment would restore the elusive peace in the country.
The Moderator, Hajia Salami expressed worries at the way politicians defected from one party to another, saying that it was not healthy for the nation’s democracy.
Other contributors, including Prof. Alex Asigbo, Dr. Ralph Ibekwe, PhD from Manchester, Dr. Victor Amuwah, PhD, urged the Federal Government to resurrect the sleeping National Orientation Agency to do what it was established for.
The lecture equally noted that the Nigeria leaders were not the actual problem but followers that were following blindly.