Former governor of Akwa Ibom State Mr Udom Emmanuel said he had listed critical priorities to sustain peace in the society at the just concluded London Political Summit.
Emmanuel who was a Guest Speaker at the conference said he mentioned the welfare of citizens, political inclusion and distribution of resources as needed ingredients to sustain peace in the society.
The former governor of Akwa Ibom state who is a renowned economist said the points for a better society were the highlight! of his keynote address at the 8th London Political Summit and Awards at the House of Parliament Westminster Palace.
He said his speech was centred on the theme, “How people, politics and power can sustain peace” adding that peace flourishes when the people are empowered.
“The welfare and participation or inclusion of all citizens, whatever tribe, gender or religious affiliation, as in the Akwa Ibom State story, are crucial in sustaining peace.”
Emmanuel who recalled his tenure as former governor of Akwa Ibom between May 29, 2015, and May 29, 2023, said “In May 2015, I was sworn in as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. At the time, insecurity was the order of the day.
“Militants were the underground leaders. People moved in fear. Nightlife was non-existent. It was tough but just like President Obama stated, I believed that though hard, peace was possible.
“We started with dialogues, face-to-face dialogues with the militants, with the students and youth, with the women and professionals, from the grassroots to the top to the Akwa Ibomites in diaspora all over the world.
“It took some time, but everyone was included – everyone felt included as well.
The ex-governor said he informed the forum that he also went into dialogue with indigenes in the diaspora, and went on to appoint one of their past presidents as a member of his executive council, thereby ending the perpetual distrust they had about their home state government.
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“We all took ownership of the state and the resources of the state. Resources were now being equitably distributed. Education and good affordable healthcare became a priority.
“Peace won! From then until now, Akwa Ibom State has been considered one of the safest in Nigeria. The Akwa Ibom State story is one of success. Politics of a state with the power conferred on it and the inclusion of the people fostered and achieved sustainable peace.”
He further recalled that on April 27, 2016, “the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council substantively adopted some resolutions aimed at achieving sustainable peace as enumerated in their schedules (A/RES/70/262 and S/RES/2282, respectively) which underpinned the 2015 review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.”
Emmanuel regretted that despite the far-reaching, comprehensive resolutions, crises presently rock over 34 countries, the latest being Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Hamas.
The former Governor maintained that “while the severity and duration of these conflicts differ, they significantly impact populations (even beyond the immediate theatre) with devastating physical and humanitarian consequences.”
He explained that, “power must be exercised with utmost responsibility, transparency, and accountability”, disclosing further that, “power and politics are expected to create the conditions that provide people with an acceptable standard of living, which is a precondition for peace and fulfilment.”
He stated that whatever the form or shape of power, it must be legitimate to the effect that its roots are with the people if it must survive, and this legitimacy confers the belief by citizens that a government has the right to rule and guarantees the safety of lives and property and ultimately, ensures sustainable peace.
“People will always feel they have a stake in the society when they can see, feel and measure the government’s commitment to them.
It also means that governments must be seen to be fair without which the people will be unsatisfied and dissatisfied with power and politics, then peace will be threatened’, he said.
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