In commemoration of the International Peace Day, held September 21, Students For Liberty leaders held several events across West Africa, with focus on promoting peace, love and tolerance. These events were held in Nigeria, Ghana in not less than six different campuses, states and regions.
In Nigeria, at the American Corner, Ibadan, Local Coordinator Morenikeji TImothy played host to Siyanbola Adegoke who spoke on the “Nexus between Peace and Human Rights” Adegoke, a life coach explained that the rights of individuals have limits and boundaries and it is the respect for these limits and boundaries that brings and preserves peace. He mentioned that people should learn to respect one another, regardless of culture, religion and not impose their morality on others. According to him, “when this fails or is not respected, there is loss of peace.”
In the same vein, Lekan Latunbosun, a socio-political commentator stressed on the need for individual freedom. He affirmed the importance of liberty as it brings about freewill, independence and choice.
Graduates deployed to Ogun state, Nigeria for the National Youth Service Corps also discussed on free markets, free speech and LGBT rights in relation to peace. Similarly, at the Lagos State University, Local Coordinator Chike Ibewuike spoke to students on the causes and effects of conflict, and furthermore offering the potent corrective measures of ideological tolerance, and the principle of “live and let live”.
In Ghana, the University of Development Studies’ chapter of the African Students for Liberty held a symposium to commemorate the nation’s founders’ day. The event which was collaboration with the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) brought together students from all levels of studies and other stakeholders to discuss the role of students in promoting peace and national unity.
Local coordinator Joseph Nzeh, in his opening remarks called on students to be actively involved in promoting peace and unity in their respective communities. He also urged them to be attached to organizations like SFL, that stands for equal rights and justice. African Students for Liberty is a movement of African Students who have the liberation of the continent at heart. Not promoting liberty in a violent way, but educating, developing and empowering to become advocates of change and leaders of liberty in their respective communities.
Speaking on the topic, “Liberty and Peace; the Role of Students”, Dr. Gideon Annor Baah. challenged students to always speak up and stand for their rights. “Being a student does not mean you are obliged to remain silent and thus have no rights to speak up or stand for your right. Students always feel that they must show respect to institutional leaders, thereby succumbing to muteness even when their rights and privileges are being trampled upon and infringed,” he stated.
Dr. Baah narrated how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghana’s founding father Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah stood as freedom fighters without using violent means. He reiterated that students have every right to protest against forceful decisions by management and authorities of institutions. However, he admonished students to detest from violent means of demanding freedom but rather through appropriate channels.
On Cronyism and Freedom, Alhassan Abdul Latif, the Executive Director of the Civil Society and Institutional Foundation (CSIF) Ghana, explained how cronyism is a form of corruption and how it can undermine freedom and peace in communities.
At the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Eric Coffie, Leadership Fora director with ASFL charged students to be vanguards of love and liberty. And this starts with being civil in conversations with colleagues, treating others as they’d want to be treated, paying attention to what other care about and communicating the ideas of liberty with empathy and feeling.