The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki has urged agitators in Nigeria and other parts of the world to adopt non-violent solutions to the rising tensions across the globe.
Obaseki made the recommendation on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Non-Violence, marked on October 2, each year.
“From the South-East to South-West, the central states, the North-East and other parts of Nigeria as well as in North America, Western Europe, the Middle East and Asia, political tensions are on the rise over the ownership and control of natural resources, political ideologies, geographical boundaries, creation of states and political participation,” he said.
The governor explained that “while several tactics such as restiveness, arms struggle, bombings and hate-laden speeches, are being adopted to push home these demands by the various agitators, evidence shows that the best option to resolving such feelings of perceived marginalisation, disaffection or discontent, is rooted in non-violence.”
He advised dissenting groups to come to the roundtable and maintained that “When everything else fails, non-violent approach has proven to be reliable as it allows for continuous dialogue, realignment of interests, open and frank conversations, endurance and forgiveness of human mistakes and the conviction that our perceived critics today, could become our most dependable allies and partners after honest discussions.”
Obaseki further said that the late Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence and in whose honour the day is celebrated, every October 2, left a model for contemporary leaders to follow.
“Gandhi contributed to global leadership models with his passive resistance or non-violence teaching, and with it, he led Indian people to independence, without applying the principle of an eye for an eye,” the governor said.
He stressed that “non-violence is still a viable and potent conflict resolution model even today, and should be explored by thought leaders and opinion moulders instead of the rush to unconventional tactics that leave in their wake, deaths, sorrow, regrets and debts.”
The commemoration of the International Day of Non-violence was established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 2007 and it is an occasion to disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.
According to the UN, “the resolution reaffirms the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence.”