Monday, 21 September 2020

Celebrating a “Man of Peace”

By Azogor Ideba

Every generation begets a rare kind, infrequent human species who leave indelible footprints in the sands of time, rewriting history and breaking barriers of impossibilities. For these iconic individuals, impossibility only exist in the dictionaries. Gifted with exceptional abilities, they provide solutions to obdurate glitches that defied answers. 

With an indomitable spirit inspired by a conviction that sees beyond the ordinary, no mountain is insuperable to them. We find imprints of these inimitable beings in almost all walks of life; distinctively impacting the world and effecting the change they desire to see.

Precisely on the 11th of January, 2006, the very foundation of the Bahumono nation was shaken when an unprecedented war broke between the sisterly communities of Ebom and Ebijakara. That ugly development marked the beginning of a crisis that was soon to unsettle the entire Bahumono nation. The Ediba and Usumutong communities joined the fray 8 years after, in what appeared to be a domino effect. This was followed by fierce skirmishes across other communities in the kingdom.  

For 14 years, peace was an anathema in the Bahumono kingdom. The fragile serenity across the communities was intermittently punctuated by outbreak of hostilities. Brothers became hostile to brothers. Kinsmen abhorred kinsmen, they turned sworn enemies. Families were separated. Marriages were shattered. Men and women were cut down in their prime. Weapon wielding warriors manned boundaries. Some laid ambush in tracks, bushes and farms, surreptitiously waiting for the opportunity to strike fellow kinsmen. Children became orphans. Many fled their ancestral homes. Lives and properties were wantonly destroyed. It was a reign of anarchy that unleased excruciating hardship, misery and agony upon the people. Brotherly Love died a consequential death. It was taken to golgotha and crucified by a people with one ancestry; a people glued by one destiny.  

The Bahumono crisis seemingly defied every human arbitration and peace gambits including those midwifed by successive governments at local, state and federal levels. It was indeed a period no one prided to be a Bahumono son or daughter.  It will remain a sad chapter in the annals of the kingdom. A gory tale to be told or heard.  

When Farathor Robinson (a Bahumono son from Ediba), vied for the position of Abi local government council chairman early 2020, he campaigned with a mantra of peace. Many received his message with a pinch of salt while others dismissed it as fustian, the usual promises often made by politicians to entice the people and win their votes at the polls.  

But Farathor was dogged and unrelenting in his quest for peace. It was a mission that was dear to his heart, having been armed with a disposition that challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. He lived his words. It was not a mere political orotundity.

Shortly after he was elected chairman of Abi local government council, Hon Farathor Robinson quickly re-enacted the process of peace building. Wide Consultations and Dialogues were vigorously pursued.

He and other critical stakeholders didn't rest on their oars just as they left no stone unturned. They had faith in the process and were innately convinced of the expected outcome however the encumbrances.    
Farathor once said: "my spirituality and faith has taught me to embrace things I can't change. I turn them into opportunities. Meditation and Prayers have given me the wisdom and awareness I need to effect change notwithstanding".  He firmly believes that in seeking happiness for others, you will find it yourself.

Akin to Joy bell's leanings, he admits that "the only way that we can live peacefully is if we grow beyond hate. The only way we can grow beyond hate is if we change our attitude to one another. And then the real growth will come only if we learn to tolerate one another".

After series of strenuous meetings and persuasions, sacrifices were made, compromises were achieved and a truce was reached. There was a general consensus to cease fire and embrace peace. 

History was made on the 27th of June, 2020 as the warring communities decided to bury the hatchet.

This was cemented on the 7th of July, 2020 at 'Utumusa', the ancestral tuft of the 9 autonomous communities that constitute the Bahumono kingdom. On this auspicious day, the paramount ruler of Abi, His Royal Majesty Ovai Edward Osim led other royal fathers of Bahumono kingdom and several clergy men to the Utumusa to cleanse and re-consecrate the land, hitherto plagued by cataclysmic wars.

The Bahumono nation became incredibly united. The love and bond that existed among the communities were re-ignited as families and friends re-united with one another across the kingdom. The entire landscape of Bahumono has not remained the same ever after.  

It is appropriate at this point to acknowledge the onerous contributions of His Majesty Ovai Edward Osim and Bahumono Royal fathers; Dr. Riman Ernest, Chief Bolaji Anani, AVM Eko Osim (Rtd.) Hon. Frank Ettah, Justice Farthob Riman,  Hon. Davies Ettah, DSP Sunday Eremi, Dr. Ernest Eteng, Dr. Charles Iwara, Prince Godswill Osim, Hon. Moses Osogi, High Prince Sunday Awara, Hon Ajah Franscis, Chief Bassey Ekponta, Dr. Freedom Ejom and a host of eminent others including youths and women; the entire good people of Bahumono kingdom for ensuring the amicable resolution of the protracted crisis. 

Credit to the Bahumono Peace Project Committee, the Adoh Bhahumono, the Bahumono Youth Council, Bahumono Women Assembly and the United Bahumono Christian Assembly. You are all heroes and heroines. You will always be remembered for your individual and collective roles.    
The import of this historic event, notwithstanding the achievement of peace, is that development has started returning to these communities whose progress became stunted as a result of the intractable conflicts.

As peace eluded the Bahumono nation during the period of the crisis, so did meaningful development. But all that is history today. History that posterity will reckon with. A posterity that will be so kind to Farathor Robinson and very prominent others.   

As the world marks international day of peace on September 21, its instructive to bring to the fore sacrifices and heroic feats by the likes of Farathor Robinson whose patriotism and humanity cannot be confined. 

The title "Man of Peace" was created in 1999 by the annual world summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome.

The purpose of the award among others is to recognize individuals who have stood up for peace and the spread of the principles of peace and solidarity in the world. 

Farathor Robinson is a typical example and perfectly fits the above description. He is indeed a "Man of Peace".