Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa
The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), has appealed to stakeholders in the Niger Delta to work for a peaceful and violent-free 2023 general elections.
He spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at the weekend on the sidelines of an event highlighting the contents of a recently published book titled GASP written by Theresa Ebi Tobuyei.
The event which also had in attendance authors, scholars and lovers of literature
was a conversation on the book drawn from the everyday realties of the adverse effect of violence to both the direct perpetuators of the act as well as the victims too.
Dikio, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Research and Documentation, Mr. Wilfred Musa said the moral lessons of the book were profound and demonstrate how the scars of violence are deeper than the eye can see.
He added that GASP utilised compelling storyline medium to shed light on the “bushfire” effects of violence amongst Niger Delta communities and people.
He said: “The Presidential Amnesty Programme has at the core of its vision and mission, the desire to explore both traditional and conventional mediums in constantly promoting initiatives that foster peace and ethnic harmony in the Niger Delta.
“This is the reason why the PAP has chosen to identify with the GASP literature project. This was further demonstrated by the purchase of 250 copies of the book for donation to select groups and public libraries in the Niger Delta.
“We are proud of the author, she is young and from the region. We hope that the lessons as contained in the book will be useful to all and we also hope that this latest literary intervention will help to improve and promote the reading culture of young people.
“More fundamentally, as our nation inches towards a very critical season in our polity, the 2023 general electioneering period, it has become even more pertinent to utilize creative avenues and mediums to cultivate the minds of our people. We need to have a non-violent approach to the election and all stakeholders must work to ensure that across every area of human endeavor”.
The author of GASP, Theresa Ebi Tobuyei, said no one ever remained the same after any crisis and expressed hope that the 265 page book would help spread the message of the value of peace, anti-war and unity, particularly in the Niger Delta region.
“I was trying to depict that a group of people might have experienced the same thing and turn out different, individually. Reactions to certain things that happen in our lives differ.
“However, I was also drawing the lesson that the degree of violence that a person experiences affects the person’s reaction to it, as seen in the characters of Ivie, Tonye and Imaobong.
“Writting GASP is not just about the passion. I am hoping for partnerships that will help to spread the gospel of non-violence and peace to the ears of these people. I am grateful to the Interim Administrator for the support on this book so far”.
The GASP author advocated the need for government at all levels to have adequately equipped agencies to nip violence in the bud and provide necessary material and emotional assistance to the victims in the event of crisis.
“I am trying to state that violence is cancerous and a cankerworm and we should run away from it because violence also destroys the perpetrators. Also, I am stating that when violence happens, it is best to always timeously offer help to victims of those violence”, she said.