Wrangling or contention should naturally be expected to feature in every organized setting. All human beings cannot reason in like manner. Disagreements arise globally every second as a result of an inordinate love for power, superiority of views and actions as well as relevance exhibited by humanity. Many times, disagreements would have been averted through extra reasoning, tolerance, and accommodation of views and opinions. It is important for all sides to issues to look for solutions to common problems that have the potency of causing dislocations to peace.
No society could develop successfully in an atmosphere enveloped by disorderliness. Clearly, something is wrong when everybody thinks the same way about issues, events and conducts of personalities, given the principles of objectivity, subjectivity, as well as selective perception and retention that combine to shape human thoughts. The government and the governed must avoid working at cross-purposes. Government must cultivate the citizenry. Conversely, the citizenry must cooperate with those pushed into positions of leadership.
It is also important that people who advise leaders in both the public and private segments of the society do so dispassionately and honestly so that leaders are able to make decisions that are for the common good. This goes beyond political and corporate governance to include the home and friendships and involves communication between wife and husband. It would certainly be helpful if we all agree to be honest in our dealings and embrace selflessness instead of selfishness.
Before the main story that shows great patriotism and accommodation of the right of others to express their views of issues that are of common interest, we bring you some quotes that promote peaceful coexistence.
WORK TOWARDS HAVING PEACE — WORDS OF THE WISE
STUDENTS PROTESTS – HOW SUPERIOR ARGUMENT BY STUDENTS PREVAILED FOR THE COMMON GOOD … A sizeable number of students of tertiary institutions, these days, have no time for niceties of studying deeply and hard, and at the same time create interest in issues that are of public interest, by decoding properly, the stimuli from the society. Instead, they are ever ready to protest perceived ills through demonstrations that every so often turn violent, designed to invite attention to their plight or the issue under focus. But the trend in modern times needs to be corrected because ideally, no form of demonstrations must be violent, if the intention is to invite attention and possibly enforce corrections.
The history of protests by university students in Nigeria is a mixed grill of success and sadness. Success because in 1962, students of universities behaved peacefully and patriotically by protesting against the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact that was eventually never signed by the Government of Nigeria. Undergraduates in Nigerian universities moved over to Lagos and engaged in peaceful protests, for government to halt the signing of the agreement with the British government because they reasoned that Nigeria and Nigerians’ freedom might be impaired. As a mark of responsiveness, the then federal government listened to the students.
Government reversed itself and the agreement was never signed. There was no flexing of muscles. It shows that reasonable non-violent interventions by students could succeed, without resorting to violence. That action of Nigerian students demonstrated responsiveness and patriotism. They were able to do so because they were knowledgeable about occurrences in the country and beyond. Times have indeed changed. There has been a sharp decline of readers and people interested in knowing about how actions that shape the present and future are taken. Most parents no longer read. Most parents also no longer pay particular attention to the development of their children and wards. The major consideration at all levels is how to corner the wealth of society.
Almost 60 years after the memorable peaceful protests, our campuses have witnessed violent protests that have sadly consumed lives and property as students battled law enforcement agents. The interesting account here is the novelty introduced by the University of Ibadan undergraduates in the early 1960s during the politics of bitterness fought with every conceivable malice. An interesting revelation made by late Apostle Hayford Alile, which is published in the Vanguard Newspapers indicates that late Chief Michael Okpara, then Premier of the Eastern Region during the Western Region political crises was threatened not to visit Ibadan to deliver a lecture at the University of Ibadan. Michael Okpara was invited by the University of Ibadan students. But the Western region government ordered that Okpara must not set his feet on the land of Ibadan.
PEACEFUL CONDUCT OF STUDENTS THAT RESOLVED THE STALEMATE Arising from the above, what did the students do? They conducted themselves reasonably and avoided confrontation. They never fought or engaged in violence. According to Apostle Hayford Alile, who was at the time an undergraduate of the university: We were prepared to support anybody then, but the only man that we saw as a patriot was Michael Okpara, then Premier of the Eastern region. And we invited him to the University of Ibadan only for late Chief S.L. Akintola to send messages across on radio that Okpara was not welcomed in Ibadan or anywhere in the West. We (University of Ibadan students) replied him that Okpara had a right to land at the Ibadan airport which is owned by the Federal Government and students were prepared to carry him shoulder high from the airport to UI, a Federal Government institution without his foot touching the soil of Western Region. Apostle Alile’s disclosure published in the Vanguard Newspapers quoted Alile as revealing that: ”And true to our promise, when his plane landed in Ibadan, we carried him on our shoulders from the Ibadan Aerodrome to the University of Ibadan — a distance of about two kilometres – and his foot did not touch Ibadan soil.”
Very comical you might say. But that was how Nigerian students of that era, clearly more matured and cerebral than the present generation, defeated the government that said Okparas feet must not touch the soil of the Western Region. All they did to obey that order was to carry Okpara from the Samonda area of the then Ibadan Airport, to the University of Ibadan, a distance of about two kilometres. As ordered by the government, Okpara’s feet never touched the soil of Ibadan or any part of the Western region. Very amusing, but that was a clever way of defeating government and also avoiding violence.
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