THEME: PEACE IS POSSIBLE IN NIGERIA
Date: Thursday June 1st, 2017 Time: 5:00PM (WAT) Venue: Twitter
The tweet chat had Peace Scholar and National Peace Is Possible Director, Paul Akingbola as Guest, and Social Commentator Sulaiman Adesola as Moderator. Opening with a brief appetizer by the moderator, the chat concisely covered the status—past,present and future—of peace in Nigeria. The tweets‟ reach, as well as the questions and contributions from participants were tracked using #PeaceIsPossible. The chat which officially lasted for two hours trended for some minutes and reached nearly 150,000 people creating over 1.5 Million impressions. The transcripts of the chat can be accessed via: https://twitter.com/Solar_unique/status/870311656060067840
Moderator: …Ok, good! First question: What is PIP (Peace is Possible)?
Paul Akingbola: Peace Is Possible is an initiative of Junior Chamber International (JCI).
It began in 2016 with Pascal Dike, the 1st Nigerian JCI World President. The campaign
engages young people to commit to, advocate, and take action for an everlasting world
peace. It also partners all sectors of the society—Government, Business and Civil
Society to mobilize for peace at various levels. The 200,000+ members of JCI spread
across 120+ National Organizations worldwide, drive the initiative. Several thousand,
acting for peace across diverse communities of the world, have since committed to
peace via www.peaceispossible.cc.
Moderator: Now to my Second Question: why #PeaceIsPossible and why is JCI Nigeria
so passionate about it?
Paul Akingbola: Happenings around the world are all clear indications that our world
has been bereft of peace. According to the World Fact Book, no violent conflict has
completely ended since 1922 in spite of among other intergovernmental organizations,
the United Nations‟ peacekeeping effort. Let‟s ponder on the sporadic disastrous
uprisings around the Middle East, Europe, America, Asia & the Pacific, and Africa!
Even our home, Nigeria is at war against itself. Evidences are in the sporadic attacks by
the Boko Haram Terrorists group. The effects of the Niger-Delta revolts and the
protracted regional, inter-communal/religious/ethnic violent conflicts are socially and
economically ruinous. With these troubles and more, JCI, and of course, JCI Nigeria
(JCIN) sees now more than ever the need to mobilize for peace. Hence, the passion for
the Peace Is Possible campaign!
Moderator: Ok, this Possible Is Possible thing, is it only a JCI Nigeria thing or a world
Paul Akingbola: JCI is a global nonprofit empowering young people to create positive
change. And JCIN is one of its 120+ National Organisations. Since insecurity in Nigeria
indirectly remains insecurity worldwide, the JCI Peace Is Possible initiative is a global
thing. Thus, like other National Organizations of JCI, JCIN adopted the campaign in
2016. Under the headship of JCI Senator Richard Ojo, now the National President, the
Peace Is Possible campaign recorded laudable media and activity reach. Thousands of
Nigerians have committed to peace via www.peaceispossible.jci.ng and have taken
action for peace across local communities. Moreso, the Peace Is Possible campaign
features at JCIN‟s local & national events, wherein Professionals are engaged on the
“barriers and pathways to peace”.
Moderator: But is peace really possible in Nigeria?
Paul Akingbola: Thank you „Sola! You see, this is one tough question almost every
Peace Scholar would beg. But to fulfill my promise, I won't do same. Truly, enthroning
peace in Nigeria today has just like democracy in Africa, become a mere catchphrase.
The best description for this Sustainable Development Goal 16 in Nigeria is: a “Mission
Impossible”! Why? Nigeria‟s pluralized status which is venomed by corruption and
injustice is a major obstacle to peace. Vital it is to illuminate also, that shadow parties
(who fete on the nation‟s instability) are barriers to peace too! And in Johan Galtung‟s
concept of positive and negative peace, peace isn't the mere absence of war, but the
prevalence of justice is. You sure do agree now that peace in Nigeria has been made a
“mission impossible” (difficult to achieve) by these and many more complex factors.
But then, Peace Is Possible still! Like war, peace is a choice. Nigerians can choose peace!
It takes less of talks but more of works. We walk the talk! The word “peace” would not
exist if peace were unrealistic. Peace is mentioned in the Qur‟an 67 times and “War”, 36
times. So why not?! Peace Is Possible in Nigeria if Muslims would act for it! After all,
the holiness of Christians will, according to Hebrew 12:14, be fruitless if they fail to
“Follow peace with all men…”
Moderator: As a Peace Scholar yourself, do you think advocacy alone is enough to
bring about peace in Nigeria?
Paul Akingbola: Advocacy is never enough. But if in world history, words could spark
bloody wars, then, advocacy can pioneer genuine walks towards peace. Paraphrasing
Eleanor Roosevelt, it is not enough to talk about peace, one must believe in it. And it is
not enough to believe in it, one must act for it. But hey, the more our talk, the likely our
work and the more our work, the nearer our walk towards peace... Since advocacy is
only a start of change, we still have to work peace out! And that‟s what makes us
Moderator: …So, what would the JCI Nigeria #PeaceIsPossible Team be doing to make
peace possible Nigeria?
Paul Akingbola: Picturing that giant Nigeria can re-become if we all would just act, the
JCI Nigeria Peace Is Possible team is acting more in 2017. We are recruiting, and
engaging volunteers for peace (peacemakers) for an aggressive year-round Peace
advocacy. We will gradually spread the message of peace around schools and
campuses, public places leaving positive traces… We are also partnering all sectors of
the society to mobilize for peace in Nigeria at an event called National Peace Summit.
Moderator: …Nice one! Next is: Can you tell us about the National Peace Summit?
Paul Akingbola: The National Peace Summit aims at collaborating with Business and
Government Agencies, Diplomatic Missions, NGOs and Professionals to discuss the
barriers to, and the realistic pathways to peace in Nigeria. The summit will in turn,
stimulate Nigerians' true walk towards peace being a sine qua non to national
development. Comprehensive details about the Summit which comes up later in the
year should be released soon…
Moderator: …Thank you for your reactions to my questions as well as to the
contributions from everyone following this chat. Any last words from you, our Peace
Scholar with a PhD (in view)!?
Paul Akingbola: Yes, please! The dream of a world without conflict is a day-dream. But
dreaming a world without war is a dream possible. Just like our teeth and tongue,
there‟ll always be discords. But that we conflict is never the problem, how we handle
conflict is! We disagree because we‟re different. We can‟t be same for we aren‟t made to
be. But unity in diversity makes a stronger us. Peace will be Possible if we would
embrace tolerance. Let‟s make peace possible in our lifetime! We‟ll be happy to see our
children celebrate us. We must never stop advocating, committing to, and working for
an everlasting world peace. And it begins with all of us as Nigerians!
Moderator: Wow! What a great time! Thank you, Paul for your time and these powerpacked
deliveries. It really has been worth the time.
Paul Akingbola: With this big fat smile on my face, I can only say: the pleasure is all
mine and, the glory is the Lord‟s! Thank you „Sola for having me, and special thanks to
all of you for participating in this discussion. I can‟t thank you enough. May we all find
peace, now and always!
With great elation, we wish to appreciate the entire JCI Nigeria (JCIN) community for participating and contributing to the success of the chat. While we register the team‟s gratitude to the National President for his participation in the chat, our sincere gratitude goes also to the JCIN Publicity & Media team for actively participating using among others, the JCIN twitter handle.
Since the #PeaceIsPossible campaign is now a flagship programme of JCIN, we wish to crave the indulgence of JCIN members to actively participate in future online as well as offline advocacies. This is because peace is the end goal of all our services to humanity.
Timothy Olawale | JCI Ibadan,
For the 2017 #PeaceIsPossible Team