Yenagoa—The Rotary Club of Oxbow Lake, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Yenagoa Sunshine and with support from the Partners for Peace (P4P) and the West African Network for Peace (WANEP), held a peace awareness seminar on Thursday as part of activities to commemorate the 2023 International Peace Day.
The event tagged “We All Need Peace” was held at the Etegwe Community Townhall in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State with a keynote address delivered by a past District Governor of Rotary International District 9141, Rotarian Mightyman Aye Dikuro, a retired Permanent Secretary in the State Civil Service.
The event featured presentations from carefully selected speakers such as Rotarian Taritein Boco and Chief Aworabhi Mekunusi of the Partners for Peace.
In his opening remarks, Rotarian Fortune Alfred, President of the Rotary Club of Oxbow Lake for the Create Hope in the World service year, stated that the purpose of the peace awareness seminar is to commemorate the International Peace Day, fulfill one of Rotary International’s objectives and to prepare the minds of the people of the community as the state goes into its governorship election in November.
He reminded the audience that Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem solvers who envision a world in which people unite and take action to create lasting change, across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
He stated that real commitment and vision are required to solve serious challenges and that is why for more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects.
According to the Oxbow Lake Rotary President, “as a humanitarian organization, peace building, conflict prevention, and resolution is one of Rotary’s seven focus areas and a cornerstone of our mission.
“We believe that when people work to bring peace to their communities, the transformation has a worldwide impact.
“Our members take action to address the underlying causes of conflict, such as poverty, discrimination, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources, by participating in service projects like today’s Peace Awareness Seminar and supporting peace fellowships and scholarships.
“Against this backdrop, we are here today to sensitize the community in advance of the State’s Governorship election on November 11th.”
Rotarian Innocent Jumbo, President of the Rotary Club of Yenagoa Sunshine, praised the Etegwe community for attending the seminar in their numbers and for their calm demeanour over the years.
He stated that the community is the area of focus of the Rotary club of Yenagoa Sunshine, which has been holding its meetings and community service activities in the community for many years.
Other speakers, including Past Assistant Governors Shaba Suleiman and Oweibi Godspower Tare, backed Jumbo’s assertion on Etegwe’s peaceful attitude.
Speaking at the event, Rotarian Victor Binawari, President Elect of the Rotary Club of Oxbow Lake, stated that the Rotary clubs chose the community because it has been an example of peace.
He urged other towns in the state and country to follow Etegwe’s example of preserving a peaceful environment in their town in order to encourage progress.
The theme for this year’s World Peace Day event, according to main speaker Boco, “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for Global Goals.” emphasizes the necessity of taking actual measures toward peace, not just as an ideal, but as a measurable goal that we can reach.
“The Etegwe community, like many other communities in Bayelsa State and around the world, faces unique challenges and aspirations.
“Yet, there is one fundamental fact that transcends countries, languages, and cultures: “We All Need Peace.” Peace is not a luxury; it is a fundamental human right that allows us to live, grow, and prosper.” He explained.
Boco went on to say that the Peace Awareness Seminar gave the facilitators and the community a chance to “come together, united by the understanding that peace is not a passive state, but the result of deliberate actions.
“It will take our consistent efforts and unwavering dedication. But keep in mind that peace is not attained in isolation; it is a collective effort including all of us.
“Peace begins with us in the Etegwe community, as it does in every community. It all begins with our willingness to settle disputes via communication rather than violence.
“It all starts with empowering our women and youth to be positive change agents. It begins with recognizing the significance of community leadership and the role they play in encouraging togetherness.”
In his response, Chief Ile Gard of Etegwe Community, represented by his Deputy, Chief Elkanah Egba, thanked the Rotary Clubs and their partners for selecting Etegwe for the seminar.
According to him, Etegwe has benefited greatly from Rotary Club community service programmes ranging from water, sanitation, and hygiene to environmental projection, disease prevention, and basic education and literacy projects.
Mienye Siekepamo, the State coordinator of P4P, who led other members of the State chapter used the opportunity of the Seminar to create a chapter in Etegwe to monitor and provide early warning signals for conflicts.
In his remarks, Etegwe Youth President Mr Joseph Amadi stated that the community will continue to maintain peace since Etegwe are tolerant and forgiving people.
Dr. Douye Lorretta Indiamaowei, who offered the vote of appreciation, urged the community to continue to be peace ambassadors since that is the only way for them to attract and sustain development in their domains.
Rotarian Dr Hilda Afakwu-Adimoha, immediate past President of the Rotary Club of Oxbow Lake, Rotarian Ebitimi Maxwell, Past President, Assistant Governors Sylanus Sikpi, Beatrice Sikpi, and Levi Uche Onyekaonwu as well as Ebisco Warikoru, Ibirimo Obiene, and others attended the Seminar.