Plateau: That lasting peace may reign
What happened in Plateau State recently, which has for some time been experiencing peace and calm is quite unfortunate.
The sudden killings by yet to be identified persons, the wave of apprehension and tension that followed, the discovery of the car belonging to a retired general at a pond and the resultant uproar that ensued have all combined to threaten the peace being experienced in the state.
In the past few weeks, there have been reports of threats to violence and actual incidents of violence that rankles the sensibilities of any peace loving person.
It is natural for people to flare up after attacks on persons close to them but the greater good of the society should be paramount in the actions we take.
As we sympathize with the victims and relations of those who have lost loved ones, it is important to note that the trading of accusations and recriminations going on should be done with restraint in order not to exacerbate an already bad situation.
The authorities and the security agencies vested with the powers to carry out investigations should be allowed to do their work while the penchant for hate mongering, name calling and the profiling of an entire race should stop.
An entire ethnic group should not be profiled based on suspicion and the driving force for the attainment of peace should be justice and fairness.
The people living in Jos and other towns in Plateau did not just come, they have been living together and doing business with one another for ages; a sudden burst of challenge should not distort the template for peaceful coexistence, but should serve as a lesson to all sides to learn how to accommodate the failings and excesses of one another.
The Plateau crisis which started in 2001 has had a way of recycling itself intermittently along the way, to an extent that it became almost predictable within a given period.
This has been so because the lessons learnt from the previous crises have not been utilized and because the sentiments that pervaded previous episodes are being nurtured and allowed to assume larger than life proportions in our psyche; this is most unfortunate.
The people of Rwanda have had a bitter ethnic war but because they utilized the lessons they learnt during the carnage, they have been able to evolve a better society from the ashes of the former one both in terms of infrastructure and in nuturing the psyche of their people.
You may wish to contrast that with Somalia which though being an ethnic and religious homogenous country is yet to recover from what started as a mere political upheaval for over two decades.
The two examples should guide our process of communal living. We either choose to be positive about our past like Rwanda or choose to dwell in our ugly past like Somalia.
I think every positive minded person should choose the former and I think to a great extent that is the resolve of the majority of the people in the state.
Every society has its challenges, it is the approach towards resolving them that determines whether there would be lasting peace or not. Even within closely knitted families, there are challenges.
The history of Plateau has shown that the number of years it had been engulfed in crisis is quite infinitesimal to the number of years peace has reigned.
What this means is that the resolve to let peace reign supreme is higher than the resort to violence and bloodletting that is why after every crisis, people observe more restraint to acts that are considered provocative and show more tolerance to differences.
This is what should be at the back of the minds of the people such that instead of getting sober after the harm had been done, it is better to get sober before a single drop of blood is shed.
After every war, people come to the round table to resolve the issues. But if the round table option had been explored in the first place, so many deaths and destruction would have been avoided.
Plateau will not achieve greatness by being in the news for the wrong reasons, it can only achieve greatness through concerted efforts at being the trail blazer in infrastructural development, enterprise and creating a decent environment for its people to develop their potentials and attain their God given destinies.
After every war, people come to the round table to resolve the issues. But if the round table option had been explored in the first place, so many deaths and destruction would have been avoided. Plateau will not achieve greatness by being in the news for the wrong reasons, it can only achieve greatness through concerted efforts at being the trail blazer in infrastructural development