Tinubu unveils S’East peace initiative, pledges commitment

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assured of his determination to utilize all available resources to ensure lasting peace and security in the south-east geopolitical zone of the country.

President Tinubu gave the assurance in Bende, the headquarter of Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, while unveiling the logo of the Peace in the South-East Project, a strategic platform for the restoration of peace in the South-East region, envisioned by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu.

The unveiling was part of activities to mark the civic reception, thanksgiving and homecoming by the Deputy Speaker.

Addressing Nigerians from all walks of life, who graced the occasion, President Tinubu, represented by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, commended the convener of the peace project, Rt. Hon. Kalu, and expressed his understanding that no one comprehends the experience of the community better than the people themselves.

The President therefore expressed his determination to involve all and sundry in bringing peace to the South-East.

He said, “We are the custodians of our pen, the architects of our potentials and the guardians of our ambitions. I must commend the convener of this historic event, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, for being in tune with time, in tune with our reality and in tune with his heart, in taking this time for a lasting peace in the South-East sub-region. His heart in this geo-political zone stands as an enduring economic power house, it is an integral part of our nation’s economy, each region complements the other; each part of this union orchestrates Africa’s largest economy.”

Tinubu averred that “it is this collaboration, this interplay of strengths that fuels our collective progress. It is this complex relationship that has kept us standing for over 63 years as an independent nation against all odds.”

Shettima informed that President Tinubu has been concerned about the extensive economic devastation inflicted by non-state actors on the region since he took office, stating that Tinubu is actually aware that his administration’s commitment to Nigeria’s future remains incomplete as long as the country grapples with sinister operations of economic saboteurs who masquerade as advocates for Ndigbo, stating that this is why Tinubu is “determined to utilize all available resources to ensure that peace we are establishing in this region is not cosmetic; and we cannot guarantee unless all of us see through propaganda that has become weapons against our unity.”

The Vice President added, “Each of us here is aware that what has held the South-East to ransom is in a threshold of the good people of the region, not other Nigerians from other parts of the country. The problem we are here to resolve as a community, as an Umunna (brothers) is a creation of certain criminals, who do not represent the interest of Ndigbo and Nigerians.

“Mr. President knows better than all of us and that is why he has never held any group accountable, but in fractions of law-breaking individuals. Peace is indelible in a democracy we have all chosen. We know that the South-East has weathered too many storms, but the current economic stagnation has shaken the foundation of this beautiful region and we are not going to sit back and watch the fire burn beyond while we tarry.

“We are here to extinguish the fire permanently. Because we have been facing an exacting violence to force our citizens to sit at home from their comfort zones and only breaking the law. They are counting down to the end of their economic sabotage.”

The VP further assured, “We are here to guarantee the return to the South-East unparalleled economic life. We know that those who disrupt peace in the South-East, along with the forces operating in situation of dangerous political agenda, are attempting to undo the hard work of millions of our heroes past. We know that we can’t revert this catastrophe unless we involve you because, you are our eyes and ears; you are our legs and mouth in this land.

“Today, we stand united to permanently declare, ‘enough is enough.’ While we acknowledge the necessity of the coordinated intervention to combat this menace, the confidence that our government shall not rest until it fulfills its pledge to mitigate the crisis we inherited. We arrive at a time when our future stood on the threshold of an uncertain future.

“We gathered here today because we have realized that unless we address the intricate web of security challenges handed down to us, our development agenda in this region shall remain elusive. The seeds of progress can only survive in the fertile soil of peace and security. This is why we take immense delight in the collaboration of all stakeholders in an initiative such as Peace in the South-East Project, to ensure that the shield of insecurity in this region, even in this time around, is established in the landscape of aspiration.

“We are here today because we are all Ndigbo, we are all umunna (brothers). We are here because our destiny is intertwined in an unbreakable pot. We are here because whatever affliction that befalls the people of Bende reverberates through the hearts of the compatriots all over the country alike. We are here because we have been given the mandate to guarantee the safety of your lives and property.

“I implore each of you here to regard us as your umunna. We are brothers and sisters, striving for a nation that serves us all and together we must collaborate as a team to overcome the things that shared humanity and unity.”

Declaring the South East peace resolution, the host governor, Dr. Alex Otti, said Abia is happy to have Rt. Hon. Kalu as its son.

The governor read out the PISE-P affirmation, which stated, “We, the people of South-East hereby declare that peace is what we stand for as a region. We declare peace for prosperity, we declare peace for progress. We stand for peace in the South-East as a catalyst that will drive growth in all sectors of the economy and rekindle the confidence of future generations. We declare that peace is better – ‘Udo kama,’ made this day, the 29th of December, 2023 at Bende, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, South-East Nigeria, before the President and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So help me God!”

Speaking on behalf of his brother governors, the Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum and governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, commended Rt. Hon. Kalu for the brilliant idea of the peace project for the South-East, saying that anything that would bring peace to the South-East is very dear to Ndigbo.

Uzodimma added that South-East governors, in liaison with Ohanaeze Ndigbo has convoked a security summit to bring peace into the region, following the security threats that started in 2021.

He enthused, “In recognition of that initiative, our brother, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Kalu, as part of programmes marking his homecoming, has also initiated this programme of peace project. It is indeed, a very welcome idea which must be commended.”

In his goodwill message, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, said the event is important because the peace of the South-East zone is by extension, the peace and progress of the entire Nigeria. He said that Rt. Hon. Kalu’s effort to restore peace in the region is noble and well intentioned, maintaining that it is borne out of deep love and profound concern over the rise of insecurity, which has affected the region negatively.

Recalling that the South-East used to be the fastest growing economy in Africa, leading in trade and commerce, the Speaker stressed the need for adopting multi-faceted approach, including inclusive governance, to handle it; calling on political leaders in the region to adopt the peace project and engage governments to address the agitations of the people.

The convener and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Kalu, who was full of appreciation for the support he got from all and sundry, noted that PISE-P is a five-year peace building and development initiative, designed to address the complex socio-economic challenges and security issues facing the South-East region of Nigeria and called for partnership with all to achieve peace in the region.

Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the occasion and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, stressed that the greatest desire of the people of South-East at present is peace; appreciating the convocation by Rt. Hon. Kalu and expressed the hope that peace has started in the South-East.

The event featured conferment of chieftaincy title of ‘Omeziri Ndigbo’ on President Tinubu, presentation of awards of commendation to various political leaders, including the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as the symbolic release of pigeons to signify peace in the South-East region and displays from various cultural groups.

The event also attracted the presence of governors of the South-East zone, members of National Assembly, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, first class traditional rulers, including: the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado Bayero and Chairman Abia Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Linus Nto Mbah, among other revered royal fathers and other important dignitaries from the South-East.

Ndigbo Worldwide

Ndigbo worldwide is an online community established to connect and unite Southeastern Nigerians (ndigbo) and the lovers of ndigbo all over the world. It aims to educate the current and future generations about the culture of ndigbo, bringing themcloser home no matter where in the world they live with news and events happening in the region, while at the same time providing a platform for social networks and e-commerce. Its registered users can live-chat, network and create connections among themselves, as well as respond to posts, or issues by leaving comments and offering insights on matters of interest to them. To further our mission, our platform helps users find and connect with individuals, teams, organizations, and other entities. There are numerous ways to express yourself and communicate with friends and family, such as consistently sharing status updates, photos, videos, and stories about the things that matter to you across the platform

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