Amb. Kingsley Amafibe, the founder and President of Peace Ambassadors Agency Worldwide, has engaged in several activities aimed at promoting peace within and outside the country. In this interview with REGINA OTOKPA, he talks about peace in Northern Nigeria, what Nigerians must look out for in electing credible, people oriented leaders.
How has the journey of promoting peace been for the Peace Ambassador Agency within the last ten years of your existence?
After my honour as an Ambassador for peace, I was propelled to contribute my quota to society and that led to the Peace Achievers Award now known as the Peace Achievers International Award.
We have a lot of platforms where we try to promote peaceful coexistence in the country and beyond, gainfully engage and empower our youths to become agents of change in a bid to promote peace in their communities and wherever they find themselves and as such, we have a beauty pageant platform where we nurture and empower young women in the country and this pageant gave birth to the Big Dream Talent Show.
During our pagenteries, we discovered Nigeria has a lot of talented youths in music, comedy and acting unfortunately they don’t have people to showcase and develop what they have and so we decided to take that bold step and began to organise the Big Dream Talent Show to harness the potentials we have.
It will amaze you to know that at the first edition which we hosted in 2020 we had over 16,000 people register online. After the selections, 30 people were in the house for five weeks and at the end, two winners emerged.
We also have the annual Nigerian peace conference where we educate people on various burning topics especially elections, security, politics etc
All I can say is being able to promote peace through the various platforms under the Peace Ambassador Agency consistently for the past 10 years has been God.
We believe peace is all about governance, education and empowerment. The Terorism, kidnapping and the many ills we witness in the country presently is because many people are not empowered and that is why we have dedicated the past 10 years of our existence as a Peace Agency towards building bridges across Nigeria, Africa and the globe.
What role can the forthcoming Northen Nigeria Peace Award have to play in building and restoring peace to the region known for all sorts of terrorism activities?
For some years now, the Northern part of Nigeria has been confronted with one crisis or the other and as a result, people especially the international community, were only seeing the negativity of the region portrayed almost on a daily basis through the acts of terrorism.
We looked at the region and figured it plays a major role in the economical growth of Nigeria and so, we created the Northen Nigeria Peace Award about three years ago with an intent to portray the positive aspects of the Northern Nigeria out for people to see and appreciate.
To do this, we began to single out individuals who have made impact through humanitarian service, capacity building or have been involved in any other activity that has brought peace and development to the Northern Region.
This became necessary because we came to discover that a lot of people were doing a lot but people were not noticing their presence and so, we decided to honour them; let the world know that good things can still come out from this environment inspite of the crisis, inspite of what is happening.
I remember the North to be the safest place but today its considered as one of the most dangerous regions in the country, how we got here I don’t know and that’s why we are talking about peace and good governance because if we have the right leaders, many things will be in place and I can assure you that four years is enough for any leader to achieve success.
But we have seen political leaders insist that four years was too small to bring about impactful, sustainable development?
You can build anything including a company within four years so why can’t our leaders put these things in place? One of the issues we are having is most of our leaders come into power without an agenda and as such, they tend to play with what they see around and before you know it they fall into the system; the cabal.Due to lack of direction, it becomes so easy for our leaders to be controlled and told what to do in government to the detriment of the people whom they had vowed to serve.
Nigerians are suffering and it boils down to leadership and governance. We need capable leaders, we need people who can put things on ground and people see it and without peace we cannot achieve this.
How impactful has these Awards been especially when to those at the grassroots?
We always oblige most of our recipient to always be agents of change any where they go. Everybody whom we have honoured so far, I have seen the chain of what they are doing in society, trying to do more to make an impact on society with their God given resources.
There’s somebody whom we have honoured four times within the last ten years. The person deserve it because he continues to do more for society and he said the award propels him to do more, because as far as he says this, he wants to do more.
The 2023 elections is around the corner. How can we fix this using the Peace Ambassador Agency to ensure Nigerians get it right this time?
Poverty is a major challenge; many people are only after what they think they can get and now. We need to reorientate ourselves and begin to look at the kind of future we want for our children because not until we begin to do that, we will not be able to select credible leaders at the forth coming elections. Also, everybody clamouring to lead this country should be able to know the system.
What we lack today is true leadership because we don’t take the right people, we just elect people because of their popularity. Although it’s not about the educational qualification but what can they deliver? What have they done for their community, state or even within their immediate family?
These are things Nigerians should begin to look out for. We need leaders who have reached out to the grassroots, people who have empowered the young people most especially because they are more than 75% of the voting population anyway.
Based on those who have shown intentions to run for presidency, most especially, do you think we have such leaders, capable leaders who can change the narrative in the country?
You can’t judge anyone right now because you don’t know their agenda; what they have for the people but what I can tell you is that we don’t need people who cannot grow this country. We need people who are industrious, strong and firm. We need intellectuals, people who can combine things, who can make things work, people who can handle the affairs of this country.
Not until we elect a leader who can put things right, I think Nigeria will continue to be in darkness,
There have been clamour from the different quarters for the youths to take their rightful place in leadership positions. What do you think are some of the challenges hindering more youths from taking such steps?
Most of our leaders do not want to empower the young people. Also, you find many young people throwing comments on social media but ask how many of them has collected their PVCs and you discover none. This shows that we are not taking responsibility of what we should do and that’s why you see there’s nobody who can come out because we don’t have the capacity, we don’t have the grassroots ability.
It’s about time when young people take this serious and focus on reaching out to their community no matter how little, building the grassroots because it is getting to that age where election is not going to be by money, but by what you have done for your people. It won’t even be about party but the impact you’ve created in society that’s what will count for any young person tomorrow.
You’ve been in the entertainment industry for over a decade. Do you see a thin line between talent and education?
Talent is like education. You can see someone who is talented but not educated wake up one morning and decide to go back to school and get educated. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi are idols today but most of them are uneducated yet they employ professors.
I see talent as the same thing with education; if you are talented chase your dream and when you’ve acquired everything you need to acquire you can go back to education but you must merge these two together whether you like it or not as a young person, or as a talented person.
We’ve been in this field for the past 10 years and still counting but one thing I encourage young people is to be consistent. Many people just jump into this jump into that jack of all trades and at the end, they find it difficult to achieve anything.
Our young people must learn to be focused, read good books, learn how to invest and take a mentor who can offer proper guidance. The reason why we see ritual killings everywhere is because people want to just become rich overnight.
As one of the most talked about event organiser in Abuja, how can Abuja become an entertainment hub rather than the neglect its currently suffering from?
Lagos is the centre of excellence when it comes to entertainment and most organisations you see in Abuja are basically government agencies parastatals. Most multinational companies and media headquarters are in Lagos so it’s easy for most of these people from Lagos to assess all the brands.
Everybody who is growing in entertainment wants to go to Lagos, especially when it comes to music, comedy and acting but it’s time we start thinking about Abuja because Lagos is congested and everybody’s falling back to Abuja.
What we lack here is sponsorship. If for instance Coca Cola decides to support two major events in Abuja, you will still discover that some elites will still hijack them and not allow it get through to those who are at the grassroot struggling to do entertainment.
So sponsorship has been one of the major things that has been a setback when it comes to entertainment in Abuja, and over the years, this is what we have suffered. We struggle to do event, you put so much to the event, and at the end, you get nothing out of it and again, sometimes the entertainers here don’t like themselves but if we can come together we will make a mark. Recall that Abuja used to be a hub of pantry in Abuja but most of them are falling out because of sponsorship.
What would you propose as the way forward?
We must build good content, that is one thing we don’t have. We prepare for events but we don’t conclude well, so how do people relate with you when you don’t have good content? So it’s about time we should start building contents that can sell not only in Abuja, but outside the shores of Nigeria.