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Give peace a chance, election is a contest not war – Peace Corps Commandant



AWKA- The Anambra State Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), has called on members of the public to give peace a chance by exhibiting the right political attitudes.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Sunday that the commandant, Innocent Okolo, made the call during PCN’s end of the year lectures and Peace Ambassador’s Award Programme.

Okolo said that the public needs to embrace peace in all its forms to achieve sustainable growth and development in the state.

He said that the PCN picked its 2022 theme for the programme as “The Effects of Youths Violence in an Election”, to bring out the essence of peace in youths engagement in politics.

He said that the PCN would honour distinguished individuals in the state who have worked hard closely with the body to fight for the achievement of PCN and help broker peace in their various communities.

The Chairman of the occasion, Dr Chris Eluemunoh, a renowned journalist, philanthropist and community leader, said that peace plays a vital role in human activities.

Eluemunoh said the general election in 2023 needs peace and focus for sustainability of the nation, and urged
the youths and other actors in the political process to consider peaceful existence of the nation above self interest.

Eluemunoh urged the youths to play important roles in election activities only on acts that would foster peace and unity in Nigeria.

“Do not give in to any political rascality but see yourselves as future moulders of positive Nigeria.

“Take your destinies in your hands and work to achieve peaceful elections that would produce credible leaders that will change Nigeria’s narratives for the best,” he said.

Dr Nnaeneka Abamara, a consultant clinical psychology and mental expert, said that peaceful environment yields sane decisions and actions.

Abamara advised youths to understand that involvement in violence during elections is to their own detriment.

Mr Anthony-Mary Amali, chairman  of the planning committee of the PCN 2022 lectures and Peace Ambassador Award, said that the lecture was orgainsed to highlight the importance of peace on election matters.

Amali said PCN is no longer a new organisation that needs introduction, but re-echoed that it was established on July 10, 1998, in Kaduna by Prof Dickson Akor.

He said that it has membership numbering 187,000 personnel, made up of regular officers and volunteers.

He said that the PCN has national spread in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and in all the 774 local government areas of the country.

“It initially began as an NGO registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and recognised by the federal ministry of youth development and federal ministry of education, amongst others,” he said.

Amali said the Corps enjoys international recognition by UNESCO and the UN among many others.

“In 2017, the national assembly, comprising both the Senate’s and House of Representatives, unanimously passed the Bill to transform PCN to NPC during the 8th Assembly.

“The President withheld assent to the bill due to some minor issues identified, and December 7, the House of Representatives passed the bill again, added to the earlier passage by the senate in early 2022,” he said.

According to him, it is hoped that it will become a fully-fledged federal government establishment before the end of present administration.

He disclosed that the PCN, Anambra Command, was established in 2012. It partners relevant federal and state government establishments to provide necessary leadership in the core mandate of the Corp which includes peace building, neighbourhood Watch, community service, volunteerism, youth Empowerment, and intelligence gathering, amongst others.

He said that partnership has facilitated good and cordial relationships between the agencies and PCN Anambra command.

Amali said that peace lectures and Peace Ambassador Award is a yearly programme and this is unique because it is coming on the eve of the 2023 general elections.

“Anambra has witnessed many security challenges and youth-related restiveness and other vices so they are worried on implications of youth violence in elections,” he said.

NAN reports that the Award of Peace Ambassador was given to Chief Chris Elumunoh, Mr Mike Ikegbunam, Mr Jude Akpua, and Mr Chidi Ibemeka, amongst others recipients.

Akpua and Ibemeka are political candidates for Anambra State House Assembly. (NAN)

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