Is peace so priceless that it’s value cannot be estimated? What is peace? Why is peace so important in the affairs of man? If peace is so important, why is it elusive?
There is a universal belief shared by almost all religions including African Traditional Religion, Islam and Christianity on the existence of an all-powerful creator, God, often described as a God of justice and peace. The Angel who announced the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds was joined by the host of the armies of heaven in singing, “glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those who please him, (Luke 2:8-13).
Jesus was described as the Prince of Peace by the prophets who foretold his coming. He radically challenged the unjust teachings and authorities of his time. Jesus preached love, equality of all persons, freedom for all, justice and peace. He summarised the law to love of God, love of self and love of neighbor, directing his followers to live by the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would want them do unto you, (Luke 6:3). Besides Christianity, similar injunctions abound in the doctrinal beliefs of other religions. All these injunctions if well adhered to would ultimately lead to the enthronement of of a just, peaceful and egalitarian society. If peace is so paramount to God in the human society, what then is peace?
According to the second Vatican Council, ” Peace is not merely the absence of war, nor can it be reduced solely to the maintainance of power between enemies, nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead it is rightly and appropriately called an ” Enterprise Of Justice”. Peace results from that harmony built into human society by it’s maker.
The first National Anthem of Nigeria went thus:
..O God of all creation,
..Grant this our one request,
..Help us to build a nation
..Where no man is oppressed,
..And so with peace and plenty,
..Nigeria may be blessed.
In this beautiful anthem, Nigeria and Nigerians prayed for Love, Justice and peace. Again we see that even by human standard, peace, based on love of God, love of self and love of neighbor is paramount for a stable and egalitarian society.
Peace is a product of the human mind. It is beyond what dictatorship, science and technology can achieve. It exists in the society only if it is found in the individual and the family.
Religion and cultural traditions are the chief inculcators of sound moral values necessary for the development of a just and peaceful society. Our societies, the nation and the world at large are deeply rooted in religious and cultural practices. Why then has peace been an Elusive commodity?
We have abandoned God. Most of the problems in our society namely hatred, selfishness, greed, juvenile delinquency, abuse of office and power, sexual immorality, financial recklessness, violent crimes, election malpractice and lots more, have their roots in Secularization, a phenomenon by which individuals and groups, including impressionable children, are free to think, talk and act as they wish without hindrance. Religion and culture are no longer looked upon for instructions and guidance. Most religious have abandoned the massage of uprightness, honesty, decency, hard work, justice and peace.
All you have now is the message of prosperity by which preachers defraud their followers for personal enrichment. Leaders are no longer chosen for competence and uprightness. Political positions are now sold to the highest bidder. Ethnicity are Religion have become monsters. Money has become God even in our religious organizations. Admission into higher institutions are no longer for the most qualified. They are also bought by the rich and mighty. Strikes in all departments are no longer news. Salary adjustment or non payment of it is almost always the cause. Our policy makers and political actors grant themselves huge wage increases and mouth watering retirement benefits while urging others to be moderate in their demands. These are the reasons why we failed. These are the reasons why peace has been so elusive. Our problems are monumental. The causes are numerous, but can be summed up in one word: INJUSTICE
In conclusion, peace has eluded our society because we have abandoned God and his Just and peaceful path to true nationhood. Man’s search for freedom led him to secularization as an alternative to God, and the consequences have been very bitter. We can still reclaim our society and our nation by returning to God for direction and guidance. Our Heavenly Father and God is loving, kind, merciful and compassionate. He is ever ready to recreate, re-engineer, reform and reestablish us on the path to Peace and greatness.
May God graciously grant us that which we seek: “PEACE ” As AN ENTERPRISE OF JUSTICE
…..Dr Nwakile I. N. O