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By Don Peter Okoro.

The ancient town of Benin-City which is the capital of Edo State of Nigeria, was thrown into festivity on Friday, the 27th of October 2023 when the United Nations- Peace and Positive Living Awareness Centre observed the 2023 World Peace Day Event there.

Featuring: Culture of Peace Awareness/Peace Awards/Appointments/ Investitures and Paper Presentations with the Theme: ACTION FOR PEACE: OUR AMBITION FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE IN EDO STATE COMMUNITIES and Unveiling/ Commissioning Of Peace Alive Initiative In Edo State, Under the Distinguished Chairmanship of Prof. Asomwan Sonnie Adogbonyin, Acting Vice Chancellor Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo State, and Prof. Lilian Imuentinyan Salami Vice Chancellor University of Benin Benin-City as the Guest Speaker with Bishop Blessing Uwaleke as the host, the event took place at the Bishop Kelly Hall,St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Airport Rd, Benin-City. In his keynote address the International Coordinator of the United Nations- Peace and Positive Living Awareness Centre ( UN-PEPOLAC), His Excellency, Amb. Bishop Dr. Festus Ozioma Ozoemena outlined the core mandate as: promotion of the Culture of Peace through Programs and Activities, also, the mobilization of credible Individuals as volunteer Peace Advocates of the United Nations, with Appointments as World Ambassadors for Goodwill, Mayors for World Peace, Ambassadors for World Peace, World Peace Messengers, Justices for World Peace, Youth Peace Ambassadors, Ambassadors for Community Peace and others.

He stated other objectives to include engaging in Peace Education, Peace Building Activities, Mediation, Conflict Management and Prevention, leveraging on Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism and focus on Specialized Intensive Research and such Programs that are in consonance with the aims and objectives.

According to him: “Today’s Event marks the Celebration of the 2023 World Peace Day in Benin-City, Edo State, even though the actual day was 21st of September. This Event is Celebrated globally annually to Institutionalize the ideals of Peace among the children of the world.” He further pointed out that the event also marks the inauguration of the first set of Volunteer Peace Advocates in Edo State, the Unveiling and Commissioning of Peace Alive Initiative in Edo State by the.

Executive Governor of Edo State,His Excellency Mr. Godwin Obaseki and honouring the Governor with the Most Distinguished World Ambassador for Goodwill ( WAG–UN) Award and Investiture.

The ceremony also honoured the Deputy Governor of Edo State,Rt. Hon.Comrade Philip Shaibu and good number of individuals for their commitment to Community, Societal and Global Peace and for their immense contributions to human capital development in line with the UNESCO Culture of Peace Tenets and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Positive Living. Some of the Appointees/Awardees Included: His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11 CFR Ogidigan, The Oba of Benin. Also honoured were the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly,Rt. Hon. Blessing Agbebaku, others are: Former Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Steven Oronsaye CFR, Hon. Osarodion Ogie Esq., Princess Rosemary Osula( Rosula Foundation), Amb. Collins Edokpolo,,Dr. Luke Abass, Rev. Mrs.Felicitas Ijeoma Uwaleke,Rev. Agbontaen Dickson, Mrs. Dorothy Omokha, among others.

The International Coordinator expressed his deep appreciation to the Edo Regional Director who was the host H.E.Bishop Dr. Blessing Uwaleke WPM–UN for his doggedness and sacrifices in ensuring that the event was successful.

He also thanked Hon.Collins Edokpolo who insisted that Edo State must be part of this Global Peace Initiative and went all out to mobilize some individuals which can be referred to as PILLARS OF PEACE IN EDO STATE. He prayed that the Lord bless them and cause the Peace to take deep roots in Edo Communities in Jesus name.

In his assessment and comments, one of the Royal Fathers of the Day and a First Class Monarch from Anambra State, His Royal Majesty Igwe Dr. Chukwuemeka Ilouno,(Eze Dunu) Igwe Ifitedunu, Dunukofia LGA of Anambra State, who is also Ambassador for World Peace ( AmbP-UN) and Vice Chairman Advisory Council UN-PEPOLAC, has this to say:”The Event was a very great one, very heartwarming indeed.

As a result of what we see around the world today, there is nothing else that can make someone feel elated than to see people coming out, volunteering to be Peace Advocates, because we have lost values.

We have lost our real values in life, especially the younger generation. So, we wonder what is happening? The Elders that the youths are supposed to be emulating are not performing; they have derailed badly and the youths are now copying bad things and most of these things are what lead to crisis.

The rush to get rich quick has made many people to go into drugs. People manufacture and transport drugs all over the world.

Most of these things affect the psyche of the youths, their ways of thinking and their brains and what you have is total chaos in the world. In this epoch making event, I saw a lot of people being admitted as Peace Advocates.

They were appointed to go into the world to preach Peace and we know that the more the Workers, the more the People that will be attracted to embrace peace, so that we can see less of the crisis we are experiencing now.

Everywhere in the world today, there is war. If it is not physical war, it is political war or one form of war or the other. Even in the homes,the youths no longer listen to their parents and parents no longer listen to themselves. Parents no longer obey the laws of the land. Laws are made to be obeyed. Laws are made for Social Guidance. To guide people on how to live well. Where people deliberately disobey the laws that should guide them in the Social norms, things will go wrong.

I wish we can have more of this across the world, not just in Nigeria, so that we can have a better world to live in. It is only somebody who has not seen crisis that will not see the value of peace. Like what people say that it is only when there is peace that there can be progress and peace includes: Peace of the Mind.

That is where development comes, that is where growth comes, that is where you can now sit down and think; not think evil, but think good. When you now add prayers to this, you will achieve your goals. In a nutshell, the event was great. Thank you” In all, it was a very great and successful Program which the people of Edo State will talk about for a long time to come.

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