President Bola Tinubu says he is determined to utilize all available resources to ensure lasting peace in the South East.
President Tinubu stated this while unveiling the Logo of the Peace in the South East Project (PISE – P), a strategic platform for the restoration of peace in the SouthEast region envisioned by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu.
The unveiling was part of activities to mark the civic reception, thanksgiving & homecoming by the Hon. Kalu by his Bende people held at Bende Sports Field on Friday.
The President, who was represented by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shetima said, “We know that the South East has weathered too many storms but the current economic stagnation has shaken the foundation of this beautiful region and we are not going to sit back and watch the fire go beyond where we can’t reach. We are here to extinguish the fire permanently.”
President Tinubu commended the convener of the peace project, Hon. Kalu said he is in tune with the realities in the region and in achieving an enduring peace in the South East.
He noted that the Southeast geopolitical zone serves as an enduring economic powerhouse which needs to be restored to its former glory.
Declaring the Southeast peace resolution, the host Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, said the people are happy to have Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu is their son in Abia State.
The Governor led the people to affirm this:
“We, the people of South East hereby declare that peace is what we stand for as a region. We declare peace for prosperity, we declare peace for progress. We stand for peace in the South East as a catalyst that will drive growth in all sectors of the economy and rekindle the confidence of future generations. We declare that peace is better, ‘Udo kama’, made this day, the 29th of December, 2023 at Bende, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, South East Nigeria before the President and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, help us God!”
Speaking on behalf of his brother Governors, the Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma commended Hon. Kalu for the brilliant idea of the peace project for the South East, saying that anything that would bring peace to the South East is very dear to Ndigbo.
He said the Governors of South East in liaison with Ohanaeze Ndigbo have convened a security summit to bring peace into the region following the security threats that started in 2021 adding “In recognition to that spirit, our brother, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ben Kalu, as part of programmes marking his homecoming, has also initiated this programme of peace project. It is indeed a very welcome idea which must be commended.”
In his goodwill message, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas said the event is important because the peace of the South East Zone is by extension, the peace and progress of the entire Nigeria.
He said that Hon. Kalu’s effort to restore peace in the region is noble and well-intentioned, maintaining that it is borne out of deep love and profound concern over the rise of insecurity which has affected the region negatively.
The Speaker, who recalled that the South East used to be the fastest growing economy in Africa, leading in trade and commerce, stressed the need for adopting a multifaceted approach including inclusive governance to handle it.
He called on political leaders in the region to adopt the peace project and engage the government to address the agitations of the people.
The convener and Deputy Speaker, who was full of appreciation for the support he got from all and sundry noted that the Peace in South East Project (PISE-P) is a five-year peacebuilding and development initiative designed to address the complex socio-economic challenges and security issues facing the South East region of Nigeria.
He called for partnership with all to achieve peace in the East.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the occasion and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe stressed that the greatest desire of the people of South East at present is peace.
He appreciated the convocation by Rt. Hon. Kalu expressed the hope that peace has started in the South East.
The event featured the conferment of the chieftaincy title of ‘OMEZIRI IGBO’ on President Tinubu and, the presentation of awards of recommendation to various political leaders including the Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
It also witnessed the symbolic release of pigeons to signify peace in the Southeast region and displays from various cultural groups.
The event also attracted the presence of Governors of the South East, Members of the National Assembly, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, First class Traditional Rulers including, Oni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado Bayero and Chairman Abia Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Linus Nto Mbah among other revered royal fathers and the Creme de la creme of the South East among other dignitaries.