Commonwealth Day, is marked across the world to promote shared values of peace, democracy and equality as well as to celebrate the association’s rich diversity, core values and global issues.
Also the day aims at raising awareness on the importance of International Peace and Security, sustainable economic development and the rule of law as it is essential to the progress and prosperity of a nation.
According to the Commonwealth Association, the day would be marked across the globe through series of activities including multi-faith service at West Minister Abby, London and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, High Commissioners, Heads of the Commonwealth and dignitaries from the Commonwealth nations will be in attendance.
Speaking on the significance of the theme, a lawyer in Enugu, Mr. CosmasOkolo, who noted that citizens were only enjoying peace partially, explained that Nigeria had not really been practicing true democracy as the rule of law was not fully implemented.
“Peace that is in the country is not complete; it will be complete when there is a sense of belonging by every citizen and the interest and welfare of every citizen is well accommodated within the country. Democracy and rule of law are inseparably inter-twined; you can have democracy when you don’t like rule of law and in the country today, we see situations where the court of law will make a judgement or ruling and some government authorities will refuse to abide by that judgement or the ruling of court that is a breach of the rule of law and therefore for our democracy to grow to its maximum level as expected every arm of government, both the executive, legislative and judiciary must abide by the rule of law.”
Mr. Okolo indicated that democracy could be strengthened in Nigeria when every arm of government respected the constitution and when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC conducted fee and credible elections.
The Head of Political Science, Department, Godfrey Okoye University, Professor OnyemaOcheoha, while calling on the various arms of government to ensure that citizens benefited from the dividends of democracy, including equal opportunity for all, said abuse of fundamental rights was a threat to national peace.
“If democracy will be strengthened, it will manifest where there is rule of law; where fundamental freedoms of man as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, article I and as also repeated or enshrined in Chapter 4 of the repeated or enshrined chapter 4 of the Nigerian constitution by the title of fundamental rights, those rights are justifiable but how many people have gone to court because of violation of some of these fundamental human rights and if they did how many succeeded? These are then indices of the practical demonstration and manifestation of true democracy, so if we have more fundamental rights as well as their social benefits, education, enough jobs for graduates and so on, then we will know that we are practicing true democracy as it thoughts to be,” he said.
To ensure sustained peace in the country, the Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State, Mr. EbereAmaraizu said the fight against insecurity should be a collaborative effort among the citizens, security agents and the government.
“Security is everybody’s business. When you engage the community, engaging them to be assured they toll the line of that issue of security consciousness, through the issuance of relevant tips and the things they are supposed to do on their own side while government play their own role but there are things that are expected to be done by the security agencies, those ones as they do theirs and members of the public doing theirs, that u a community so through their community engagement, each and every one of them.”
Two respondents Comrade Tony Udeh urged Nigerians to shun violence and embrace peace while Mrs. IjeomaOzoechi noted that equality could be achieved in Nigerian if government became gender-sensitive in all aspects of the economy.
“To say that we are enjoying peace in this country, I must be doing myself a bad service, because the while country is in a web of crisis, from one security challenge to the other. Generally in Nigeria, we are not sleeping with our two eyes closed; the peace atmosphere in the country is not so favourable.”
“There is need for gender mainstreaming in all aspects of our society, there is no equal opportunity because in Nigeria, there is no meritocracy. You know meritocracy is where you give the job to the best person that is qualified for it, that best person can be a woman, in everything that has to do with somebody needed for any opportunity, let it open for both men and women, let there be equal opportunity for men and women.”
Mrs. Ozoechisaid that government should change from recycling men in leadership positions because there was no world without women.