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Obasanjo wants African youths to resolve conflicts with love

Obasanjo wants youths to be agents of peace rather than being lured or used as agents of destabilisation.

Former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo [Twitter/@seyiamakinde]

Obasanjo stated this on Monday in Abeokuta at a Youth leadership symposium with the theme Opportunities for Peace: Roles of The Youths in Conflict Prevention in Africa.

He said efforts to inculcate culture of peace and security in the youth must be intensified to spur them to be at the vanguard of promoting peace rather than being used to perpetrate violence in the continent.

The programme was put together by Centre for Human Security and Dialogue in collaboration with the Institute for African Culture and International Understanding, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was part of activities lined up for the 87th birthday of the former President coming up on Tuesday, March 5.

Obasanjo explained that instead of pushing forward the narratives of hatred, negative attitudes which brew conflicts and then violence, it was important to embrace love, tolerance and see peace as not negotiable for economic growth and prosperity.

He said the youths must stand firmly against conflicts in any part of Africa and be agents of peace rather than being lured or used as agents of destabilisation.

"We must begin to bring up our youths in the culture of peace and security. The chances are where we have culture of love, we will have peace. The first thing to do is to inculcate in the youths the ingredients of peace which is love and fellowship.

"Look at the attributes that God gave us to have life of stability, life of peace, they are as I mentioned, kindness, mercy and forgiveness. All of these attributes are professed by God and he shared same with us to make life pleasant for us. But when we build negative attitudes, pull him down, then there will be problem.

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"The youth must be at the vanguard of pursuing peace, they must be able to persuade those who believe that gun and violence is the way out of conflicts to have a rethink, the way out is conversation and dialogue.

"We have had our issues here during civil war; we killed ourselves mercilessly, destroyed our best facilities but we still came back to the roundtable to get the challenge resolved."

The coordinator of the programme and former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, said the essence of the symposium was to further drive home the commitment of Obasanjo.

He emphasised that Obasanjo believed that African youths had pivotal roles to play in achieving peace across the continent.

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