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SUNDAY VANGUARD (Sep 28, 1997)

WE ARE STARTING WHERE AKINYELE STOPPED
Global Peace Movement
By Chris Ochayi

MIKE MacDonalds Uyi is the President-General of the newly formed peace negotiation body - Global Peace Movement. Many ex-students of the University of Ibadan would easily remember him during his days in that institution.

He was said to have spent thirteen years in the university as a Students' Union leader who mediated between the government and Action Group's elements in those days.

Today, Uyi, is not talking unionism, he is more obsessed with the lingering political crisis facing the country after the annulment of June 12 presidential elections.

He spoke to Sunday Vanguard in Lagos shortly after the launching of the GPM, last week.


What prompted you to forming this Global Peace Movement at this crucial time?
Actually, the reasons for coming up at this time is that we found out that there are too many threats concerning Nigeria both in and outside. And that is not the best way for a nation to prosper. It is a very turbulent time for Nigeria and it requires somebody to really come out to pacify the minds of the people with love and peace. Not necessarily with the provocative ways that we see by the day .... at least the country belongs to all of us. I could fly away today but my mother cannot do that or my junior brother. So, we have to see the country as ours not as a foreign land. So this is the reason why the Global Peace Movement has to come out at this time.

Before this time, we have had other NGOs with the sole aim at solving the present political logjam to no avail. What convinces you that your will be a success?
We cannot actually say because the ones initiated by the government are funded by the government and the government have to dictate the tune and this tune might not be to the interest of the public. So this is where the difference comes in. As the government only dictates" to them what to do or what to say. because what we are doing, we are doing it as Nigerians to Nigerians, not as government agency to Nigerians.

There won't be any question of failure. Those who have failed really have not got the maturity of mind or rather have not only taken the pains to really go to the grassroots and make their research before forming such organisations.

So, the GPM will succeed where others, failed ...
GPM can't fail because one, we trust in God and God is author of peace and we are preaching peace. The aims and objectives of Global Peace Movement cannot fail. We are saying things from our hearts which we know many Nigerians are yearning to hear, things that will keep their mind at rest. Things that will make them think and have hope for tomorrow, not necessarily things to eat today and die tomorrow.

Please can you outline your strategies to tackle this peace resolution mission?
Yes, our strategy is really to meet whoever is involved in a particular dispute. Usually, there are two sides to a dispute. The two parties concerned will be brought together and we will serve as mediators, and then proffer solutions. Whereby the solution is not taken, we still take it higher to a person or a group that is higher than us to have a central dialogue. We will not relent until we secure the confidence of the two parties to amicable settlement.

Is your group also competent enough to mediate between NADECO and government, a job NARECOM has not succeeded in fulfilling?
We said because it involved the government and there is certain expectation the government expected Chief Alex Akinyele to carry out with Rules and Regulations which Akinyele cannot deduct or add to.

In our own case we don't need amendment from, the government or individual. But suggestions from those that are concerned. That is meeting with the men in NADECO themselves to meet with the government while we sit at the middle to hear from both parties and make both parties understand the reason why the country should move forward. We won't create room for tvvo many oppositions that will not make the attainment of peace in this country possible. So, this is the difference in strategies. Akinyele is just acting on gathering people that have no personal interest in a matter at stake. And after that gathering, that's the end of it. There is no follow up. no public input. So the statement is very clear. Ours must succeed.

How would you describe the activities of NADECO in the country so far?
NADECO as an organisation has a right to react the way it wants to react because there has never been a peace broker between the two bodies (government and NADECO). It can react because there is always a room for other voice in any human set up. People can always behave any how they like until you have a broker. That's our role now. We are brokers. It is we that will seek audience with NADECO. seek audience with federal government and let everything be neutralized.

When do we expect your action to commence?
We are starting from August 18. and we will first visit Aso Rock to dialogue with the authorities first, on general national issues.

What is your agenda like?
The first agenda is on Ogoni. followed by the June 12 issue and it goes on simultaneously like that.

Our strategy is really to meet whoever is involved in a particular dispute. Usually, there are two sides to a dispute. The two parties concerned will be brought together and we will serve as mediators, and then proffer solutions.

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