Friday, October 19, 2012
Shehu Sani Friday, 19 October 2012 - Nigeria Tribune Online
THE ultimate desire of every nation on earth is to excel and massively developed to its full potentials and ultimately became an object of emulation and envy. In line with this aspiration, many nations put in place plans and developmental strategies which are short.
While nations make sustain efforts in this aspiration,it has been clearly shown that no nation can be truly independent and completely sufficient on its own without relying on others or development partners.
Nigeria, had partnered and benefited from the vision, benevolence and generosity of several development partners which had been operating in the country for quite some time. Different development partners abound in the country. They include but not restricted to DFID, USAID, JICA, CIDA, UNDP, and the EU. Every effort should therefore, be put in place to sustain and maximize the contractual benefits inherent in their partnership with the Nigerian government. The European Union (EU), is one of the largest development partners of the nation.
It is a unique economic and political union of 27 member sovereign states which are located in Europe, with a combined population of over 500 million inhabitant or 7.3 per cent of the world’s population. The EU in 2011 generated the largest nominal world Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of 17.6 trillion US dollars, representing approximately 20 per cent of the global GDP when measured in terms of purchasing power parity.
These realities only translate to the fact that the body may have some funds which it can use for its interventionist policy agenda. This also underlies its effectiveness in most areas where the body has helped and still helping to address development issues in most of the countries of the world where it operates, including Nigeria.
The presence and the activities of the EU in Nigerian have no doubt made a great difference in the life of the people and their desire to develop. It has helped and continue to help Nigerian’s development in more ways that can easily be counted in a partnership that started since 1976. It has committed itself to support Nigeria’s efforts at promoting peace and security and equally committed to Nigeria’s socioeconomic development.
In the recent years, the European Union, collaborated with Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), in the fight against terrorism. Recently, a memorandum of understanding was signed for a 35 million euros (approx N7.2 billion) financing agreement in support of the government’s efforts in preventing and fighting corruption. It also funded a N4.3 billion project to support Federal Government reform efforts in the areas of justice, water supply and sanitation, electoral cycle as well as fight against drugs and other related organized crimes. It spent N16 billion in water project around the country and earmarked N6.5 billion for rural water projects in Nigerian and has pledged to spend N138.4 billion for strategic project across Nigerian.
No doubt, any organization that sets out to combat terrorism, to fight or prevent corruption, to support government reform so that justice and equity will prevail and to support water provision, sanitation and poverty reduction or elimination has largely contributed to promote peace and that is what the EU has done and still doing in Nigerian and other parts of the world, thus they are indeed a blessed peace maker per excellence.
The announcement of the prestigious Peace Prize to the EU was greeted with shock, applause also some criticism and cynicism but it should be noted that the EU was awarded based on criteria or standards the Nobel Committee found convenient. The award to the EU is undoubtedly an appreciation of its role in the post war Europe and also in post colonial third world nations in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The Prize is one of the five bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor, Alfred Nobel. Others are in chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine and literature. Since 1901, it has been awarded annually (with some exemption) to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing crimes and for the holding and promoting of peace congress”. Due to its political nature, the Nobel Peace Prize has for most of its history been the subject of controversies.
Past individual winners of the Nobel peace prize include, ArchBishop Desmond Tutu, 14th Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Yitzak Rabin, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Liu Xiabo.
The basis of awarding the prize to the EU is because the body has done much to promote global fraternity and unity than others. The EU has promoted and continues to promote unity at national and global level, one of the concrete ways by which it promote unity and peace is through the provision of humanitarian aids to many developing countries of the world.
Aids in form of money for development flowed from the EU to several of the developing countries since it began its partnership with them. With this fund, many benefiting counties have been able to address critical challenges militating against development in these places.
Apart from its agenda for peace promotion in the developing countries, the EU has also been a key in transforming Europe “from a continent of war to a continent of peace”. It has contributed to rebuild Europe after the second world war and played a key and strategic role in spreading stability after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, thus the questions of whether it deserves the award or not does not arise again in view of its obvious global peace initiatives. We may justify the EU’s win by X-raying other peace–related development agenda and initiative which the body had executed across the globe
The European Union deserves and justifies the Nobel peace prize, because of the following reasons among several others.
It’s decade-long historical role in promoting, reconciliation and peace. The EU had been a force for peace after the Second World War, binding Germany and France together; it is spreading the values of the promotion of democracy and human rights all over the world and helping to transform Europe from a continent war to one of peace. It has helped settle ethnic-based national conflicts in the Balkans. The award is therefore timely, reassuring, reinvigorating and solemn.
It will serve as a tonic as well as a morale booster for the EU to know that humanity appreciates their humanism, milk of human kindness and brotherliness. It will also serve as a reinvigorating tonic to sustain its ability to sustain fraternity between nations and at a lower level, between individuals.
It will also afford the EU to solemnly reflect and take stock so as to renew their determination to make their presence felt more than ever in most of the countries in which it presently operates.