Nigeria President Receives 2013 Africa Peace Award

22 November 2013

Following the successful hosting of the 5th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue in Jos, Nigeria, from 25th – 26th October, 2013, by New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation and United Religions Initiative-Africa (URI AFRICA), H.E. Amb. Dr. Mussie Hailu, URI Africa Regional Director and Special Representative at the Africa Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), led two other URI Africa Leadership Team (URI ALT) members, Hon. Elisha Buba Yero (URI Global Council Trustee) and Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba (URI West Africa Laiason Officer), to the State House in Abuja, Nigeria, to present the 2013 Africa Peace Award to Nigeria’s President H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, on Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

The URI ALT team arrived the State House at about 10:30am and was led into the President’s Conference Room by Amb. Hassan A. Tukur, Principal Secretary to the President, where several Federal Ministers, including the Head of Service (HOS) of the Federation, Chief of Staff, several government functionaries, members of the Press, were already seated. The President was led into the conference hall by the Vice President of Nigeria, Arch. Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyiim Pius Anyiim.

Presenting the 2013 Africa Peace Award to the President, H.E. Amb. Dr. Mussie Hailu said that the Nigeria President was chosen for the Award in appreciation and acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution, leadership and tireless selfless commitment to the promotion of a culture of peace, democracy, interreligious and intercultural harmony and for dedication to poverty reduction initiatives in Nigeria and for his exemplary leadership and support in launching of the Africa Union Interfaith Dialogue Forum in Abuja in June 2010. According to H.E. Dr. Amb. Mussie, the Nigeria President was further considered for the 2013 Africa Peace Award in appreciation of his prompt action and steadfastness in the constitution of a Federal Government-led Committee on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, in keeping with his pledge and commitment to ensuring that Nigeria joins the United Nations and the global community to stem the worrisome proliferation of small arms and light weapons, including their usage in creating social insecurity, unrest and instability. H.E. Amb. Dr. Mussie Hailu, on behalf of the URI Global family, also thanked the President and the good people of Nigeria for Nigeria’s active role and contributions to global peace efforts in Africa and the rest of the world. URI was also formally introduced to the President and members of his cabinet. Dr. Mussie stated that URI is a bridge-building global interfaith organization, of over 600 member-organizations currently operating in over 89 countries, and has Consultative Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and committed to the cultivation and promotion of daily interfaith cooperation and peaceful co-existence among peoples and religions of the world. The vision of URI Africa, he observed, is for an African continent that is united, prosperous and peaceful, where food is abundant and where the smiles of humanity shine brighter than the sun itself. In this regard, URI Africa recognizes and welcomes the Africa Union (AU) –led Interfaith Dialogue Forum, launched by the Nigeria President himself, to harness the power of religious communities for Africa’s integration and development. The URI Team also used the opportunity of the visit to introduce and highlight the great significance of the practice of “The Golden Rule”, which requires people to treat others in the same way they would want to be treated.

In receiving the 2013 Africa Peace Award, the Nigeria President H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan observed that the world today faces great challenges and URI’s efforts in seeing that people co-exist peacefully, must be commended.  He then dedicated the 2013 Africa Peace Award to the Nigeria people, who had said have continued to inspire, encourage and support him always.  According to the President, “It was out of place for anyone to talk of economic development in a society where there is no peace, when it is common knowledge that for any given economy to develop there must be internal democracy and stability”. The President further observed that there was no way any meaningful development could take place in a country where its citizens had resorted to settling their differences by fighting. The President said he always preferred dialogue and negotiation in resolving issues rather than people fighting, for “Even when countries are fighting, at the end of the day, they still come to the dialogue table to resolve their differences. They have hardly solved any crisis through the barrel of the gun. Even if they had the most sophisticated weapons to fight with, they would still come to negotiate, otherwise you can never live in peace”. The President then called on all Nigerians, especially the youth, to all embrace peace, because no government can perform magic when the people are shooting guns. The President made a commitment to building peace, and to practicing and promoting the principles of the Golden Rule.

The meeting with the Nigeria President and his Cabinet was preceded by the formal launch of the Golden Rule Chapter of Nigeria during the 5th International Interfaith Conference in Jos, Nigeria, hosted by New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, a Nigeria-based national nonprofit establishing cross-cultural leadership teams of young women and men, with skills that will help them emerge from dysfunctional families and a drug-influenced life on the streets, to become peer-leaders and agents of peace capable of helping themselves and influencing their communities for good.

Past recipients of the 2013 Africa Peace Award include: S.E. Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique, H.E. Joquim Chissano, Former President of Mozambique, H.E. Mr. Alfonso Dhjakama of RENAMO Party, H.E. Mr. Girma Woldergiogis, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The Acholi Religious Leaders Initiative of Northern Uganda, National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda (NURC), H.E. President of Paul Kagame of Rwanda, H.E. Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso, The Elders Council of Ethiopia, Professor Hizkias Assefa, UNESCO, Missionaries of Charity, Rotary International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Africa Union (AU), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia and now in 2013, H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, PhD

URI West Africa Laiason,

Executive Director,

New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation