CIDJAP joins the World in Celebrating the International World Day of Peace

JOHN 14: 27-31a

~Rev. Fr. Ambrose Ofodile

The Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) is a social organ of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, committed to the implementation of the Catholic Social Teachings, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a non-governmental, non-profit, research and development organization.

Founded by Rev. Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike, the Institute commenced in 1986 from a lowly background and has grown to be top of the list and highly rated as an example of a success story in the arena of integral human development. It has evolved rapidly from modest beginnings to become one of Nigeria’s foremost and easily one of the most versatile, dynamic, effective and patently credible NGOs in Nigeria.

It is classified as the best example of providers of grassroots emancipation and holistic human development. It’s numerous projects are in the areas of education and children sponsorship/scholarship program; prison and human rights struggle; primary health care and general health provision; housing and community development initiatives; micro-credit and loans portfolio; democracy monitoring and good governance projects; Caritas and social assistance for the indigent and the downtrodden of the society; conflict resolution and peace building; Muslim/Christian dialogue, corporate social responsibility, community development and peace. These goals have been the ideas to which the Institute have been committed and by which it is driven.

As we join the international community in celebrating the World Day of Peace with the theme: End Racism. Build Peace, it has become pertinent that we domesticate or contextualize this global theme within the ambience of our peculiar societal malady. Even though racism is a global trend but tribalism is more of a challenge in our country Nigeria than Racism as a result we must strive to end tribalism in Nigeria.

Furthermore, Nigeria is gearing up for 2023 general elections and the essence and place of peace as a vehicle for a stable, free and democratic society can never be over emphasized. Hence, while we should advocate for peace, we must eschew the politics of bitterness, tribalism, bickering, nepotism etc.

In living out her mandate and drawing her inspiration from scriptures, the social teachings of the Church and the experiences and hopes of the poor, the deprived, the marginalized and the oppressed, and as a stakeholder in the celebration of the international Day of Peace, CIDJAP turns attention to the traditional understanding of peace as espoused in Chinua Achebe’s “THINGS FALL APART”.

“The people of Umuofia celebrate a Week of Peace. It is the week right before the yams are planted every year. The purpose of the Week of Peace is to honor the earth goddess, Ani, so that she will bless the crops and the village will have a good harvest. No work is done during that week and the villagers visit their neighbors and drink palm wine. It is unlawful to say a harsh word to a neighbor during that time”. In this week, everyone is expected to be at peace with each other. A similar observance is found in Christianity where the Holy Week (the week preceding the Easter Sunday) is the most hallowed week of the liturgical year.

A cursory look at this primitive notion of peace, one would agree with me that the understanding of peace here is not only temporal and time bound but motivated by fear. It is observed in order to obey the earth goddess Ani lest they have a bad harvest, thus it could be described as: a worldly peace, a transient peace or an ephemeral peace. It is observed in dread of the gods!
We read also in the same epic novel that Okonkwo broke the week of peace when he beat his youngest wife, Ojiugo heavily because she went to a neighbour’s house to plait her hair and did not come back on time to prepare dinner for her husband and children. It took the intervention of one of the other wives to prepare the dinner.

JOHN 14: 27-31a

Contrary to this time bound peace as espoused by Achebe’s novel, we have in the gospel of John 14, an enduring and permanent peace wrought or promised by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The peace that he bestows on us is not a time bound peace. It is holistic, integral and all encompassing. It is the kind of peace that touches every aspect of human life: physical, social, spiritual, psychological etc. The peace of Christ is permeating and once given it remains.

He gave this peace at a time the disciples were in doubt and troubled, at a critical moment in their lives. This Peace of Jesus Christ is urgently needed as we prepare for the general elections. Peace is not the absence of war. It is not the observance of retinue of rules. It is an inescapable component of a stable and peaceful society.

*Nigeria is a country with diverse and rich cultural heritage, a giant with such gigantic prospects, a country with enormous natural and human resources at her beck and call, a country with numerous, talented, resourceful and hardworking people, a country populated with about the highest number of intellectuals in Africa in almost every field of human endeavour, a country with dynamic and teeming population of young people.
Yet in the face of all these Nigeria continues to wallow in abject poverty. We are living in a country where human life worth close to nothing. Our enormous natural and human resources notwithstanding, many people in Nigeria are living below the poverty line. The situation in Nigeria is aggravated by insensitive and ruthless leaders whose preoccupation is their personal self aggrandizement to the detriment of the welfare of the poor people who voted them into power.

People are clandestinely and brazenly maimed and killed. Some are subjected to a lot of inhuman treatments. It is like a return to the Hobbesian state of nature, where life is short, brutish and man becoming a wolf to fellow man.

This is a country where the lives of animals are valued more than that of human beings, a country where affluence meets with abject poverty in their raw state, and a country where the end justifies the means especially in the acquisition of wealth.

There is penchant for miracle, power and glory among politicians and regrettably among our religious leaders.

Our Churches have turned to dens of robbers where politicians with questionable characters converge to sell their wares in what seemed like a drama of the mad in order to be given divine mandates to run in elections. Many of the ministers of God now sell ‘the anointing for leadership’ to the highest bidder. Sensing the apparent withdrawal of God in our Churches politicians commit all kinds of blasphemy in the Church ranging from kidnapping of ministers to killing them. Sometimes they come with bags full of money in order to entice our vulnerable ministers of God.

Now, I see a sense in Chinua Achebe’s THE TROUBLE WITH NIGERIA, where he declared that the trouble with Nigeria is squarely that of leadership. While I agree with him, I wish to state also that coupled with this leadership failure is the problem of proliferation of Churches, prophecies and ‘anointing’. We have been besieged by an avalanche of Churches which are multiplying at geometric progression. A lot of lies are being peddled in the name of Christ that people go as far as giving fake prophecies and staging miracles to deceive unsuspecting people of God.


While we must not continue to lament, we must strive to preach and live peacefully with one another irrespective of gender, age, tribe, ethnicity religion and race!, Amen.

(This piece is inspired by CIDJAP/EU-ACT partnership supported by the European union and implemented by the British council.)


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