The recent development in Ukraine and Russia is enough to re-assure, re-affirm and remind Nigerians that no place can be compared to home.
The happenings at home may be disheartening. The way the “lazy youths” have turned into carnivores who feed only on human parts may be difficult to comprehend. As the spate of insecurity has given us concerns at home, the issues of social, economic and institutional infrastructure have given us restless days and sleepless nights.
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Every individual is a government at home. That is, participatory governance is a survival instinct and antidote to living meaningfully and happily in this part of the world.
Yes, to have light, you must fuel your generator. To drink water, you either sink a deep well or starve yourself to drill a borehole. As community youths, you must wake up at night, and move out in a group to secure your lives and protect your property.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the able-bodied youths will fill the roads to make them accessible to road users. These are your basic rights and necessities of life where you were coming from. To have access to the world you must buy data.
This is what we term participatory governance. As leaders of tomorrow, we have adopted these coping strategies today to add value to life. It will interest you to know that before we embark on a journey during the day and at night, we must cast and bind at motor parks with prayers. Not because of Uncle Satan but Brother Sarin. Sarin is deadlier than the devil!
As pathetic as these stories are, many of us still travel to the North from the South at night and from the East to the West in the day without any iota of fear. God has been so kind to us. We are still enjoying Tuwon Shinkafa and hot pepper, amala and gbegiri, abacha and vegetables, afang and yellow eba. Above all, the sunshine purifies our skin, rainfall refreshes our land and the moon electrifies our world. We are good to go any day, any time.
I nursed no fear of your safe return to our beautiful country when Russia began to exchange fire with Ukraine and a terrible sound of Avtomat Kalashnikov was heard from Ukrainians. In our usual way of doing things in this clime, we cried to God to let peace reign in the troubled lands. Muslims prayed fervently, and Christians cried to God. The Igbos appealed to Chineke, Hausa supplicated to Allah and Yoruba appeased Eledumare for your safety.
Alas! Your arrival and safe landing on your father’s soil through Air Peace symbolized and interpreted the contribution of our ancestors and leaders to universal peace. What led to war is not our concern on this page and at this moment like what led to your safe return home.
Before the birth of an international chemical weapons disarmament regime of 29th April 1997, in Hague, Netherlands, headed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), so many conventions were organized by the world powers after the First World War of 1914 and the Second World War of 1939 without success. Russia, Germany, USA, Britain, Italy, France, Israel, Egypt, North Korea and a host of other states with nuclear weapons never agreed to sign, ratify and enforce the prohibition for the development, production, stockpiling, transferring, trading and use of chemical weapons and in so doing, to make the world safe from the threat of chemical warfare.
Nigeria has not experienced any established chemical threat. Surprisingly, Nigeria accepted the provision of the convention and became a state party has signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on 13th January 1993 and ratified it on 1st March 1999 when many countries in the world saw no reason to live in peace and contribute to universal harmony and wellbeing of humanity since 1922, precisely 72 years when the treaty was held in Netherland.
The ultimate aim of OPCW is to achieve a world permanently free of chemical weapons and to contribute to international security, universal peace and global stability and complete disarmament of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Since Nigeria became a member, it has been instrumental to enforce and achieve the fundamental objectives of the Chemical Weapon Convention with a mandate to prohibit the production, acquisition, retention, stockpiling, transfer, trading and use of chemical weapons against humanity or cause great damage to artificial structures, natural structures and biosphere.
Nigeria has contributed greatly to the destruction of chemical weapons within a time-bound framework.
Nigeria attaches great importance to protection against the threat or use of chemical weapons in conventional war situations.
Nigeria also supports the fulfillment of Article X of the provision, which seeks to provide assistance and protection against the threat or use of chemical weapons during wars. This is the core mandate of the Chemical, Radiological, Biological, Nuclear and Explosives Department in the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) under the leadership of the Commandant-General, Ahmed Abubakar Audi.
The personnel of the corps has been given the requisite practical training on how to protect the civilian populace from the harmful effects of chemical, radiological, biological, nuclear warfare and explosives. Thanks to the federal government of Nigeria for its contribution to global peace, security and harmony.
The take-home from the Ukraine crisis by all the returnees, especially the students, should be to contribute to peace. We must sustain the protocol and pray for a threat-free world. The world knows us as heroes and heroines. We must neither resort to crime nor involve in criminality.
As leaders of tomorrow, we must be resolute in our decisions to do everything best possible to improve this present situation of our political, social, economic and educational quagmire.
Many Nigerian universities can offer the best of skills and training that we are jetting out to acquire. The reason many excelled in schools abroad is as a result of our firm foundation. Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve.
You should put whatever happened in a foreign land behind you. Everything happens for a purpose. If a man is to live a thousand years on earth, it will not be enough to attain what is attainable, learn what is learnable and achieve what is achievable.
It is part of the experience you must acquire to excel in this mundane world. We must erode our thoughts of divisive impulses. We have no place to call ours outside Nigeria. Let us work as a team for Project Nigeria and she will be great again and again. When we do all these, we can be proud sons and daughters of humanity. And so help us, God.
Babalola can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org