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News - South West - Ogun Updated: March 05, 2024

Obasanjo calls for dialogue over violence in resolving African conflicts

By Philip Adeboye
March 05, 2024
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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo reiterated his stance that dialogue, not violence, is the key to resolving conflicts in Africa

He made the statement on Monday in Abeokuta during a Youth Leadership Symposium themed "Opportunities for Peace: Roles of The Youths in Conflict Prevention in Africa."

Obasanjo emphasized the importance of intensifying efforts to instill a culture of peace and security in the youth, encouraging them to champion peace rather than being manipulated into perpetrating violence on the continent.

The symposium was organized by the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue in collaboration with the Institute for African Culture and International Understanding at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

The programme was part of activities lined up for the 87th birthday of the former President coming up on Tuesday, March 5.

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Obasanjo explained that instead of pushing forward the narratives of hatred, negative attitudes which brew conflicts and then violence, it was important to embrace love, tolerance and see peace as not negotiable for economic growth and prosperity.

He said that the youths must stand firmly against conflicts in any part of Africa and be agents of peace rather than being lured or used as agents of destabilisation.

“We must begin to bring up our youths in the culture of peace and security. The chances are that where we have a culture of love, we will have peace.

“The first thing to do is to inculcate in the youths the ingredients of peace which is love and fellowship.

“Look at the attributes that God gave us to have life of stability, life of peace, they are as I mentioned, kindness, mercy and forgiveness.

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“All of these attributes are professed by God and he shared the same with us to make life pleasant for us. But when we build negative attitudes, pull him down, then there will be problem.

“The youth must be at the vanguard of pursuing peace, they must be able to persuade those who believe that gun and violence is the way out of conflicts to have a rethink, the way out is conversation and dialogue.

“We have had our issues here during the civil war; we killed ourselves mercilessly, destroyed our best facilities but we still came back to the roundtable to get the challenge resolved.”

The coordinator of the programme and former executive secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, said that the essence of the symposium was to further drive home the commitment of Obasanjo.

He emphasised that Obasanjo believed that African youths had pivotal roles to play in achieving peace across the continent.

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