Since it was conceived by veteran broadcaster and culture activist, Mr. Cally Ikpe, and its adoption by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Violence-Free World, VFW, project has remained a viable vehicle.
From the naming of some eminent Nigerians as peace ambassadors, to the Nigeria Music Video Awards, the VFW, which now holds on the platform of the Ooni’s House of Oduduwa Foundation, has been outstanding in non-violence advocacy in a country where violence has become a handy tool.
Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi 51st Ooni of Ife
The fact that violence, today, threatens the fabrics of the nation, on a huge scale, makes the programme very attractive to Nigerians.
And that is why those enthusiastic about the novel programme cut across age, background and class.
Mention them! Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Bishop Hassan Kukah, Chief Dele Momodu, Chief Kenny Ogungbe, Tuface Idia, Gbenga Adeyinka and Sheila Ashinze, among others, have in different ways identified with this advocacy.
With these a-list Nigerians identifying with the project, it was not surprising that the Chairman of Forte Oil, Chief Femi Otedola, played host to the VFW team in his Victoria Island Office, Lagos.
Led by Ikpe, the businessman was on hand to receive the team with its message of ‘A World Without Violence’.
While expressing excitement at the crux of the advocacy, Otedola observed that the programme was noble and most relevant at this time of Nigeria’s history. Violence, he reckoned, is no respecter of persons or creed, stressing that no one is insulated from it.
To him, the most practicable solution to the growing incidents of violence is to shun acts that will lead to it.
The highpoint of the interface was an endorsement of the project by Otedola.
‘Wealth means nothing without security’
In his endorsement message, he said:”Wealth means nothing if your security is not assured, and true security and prosperity will remain an illusion if hatred and racial biases dominate our minds. Please, let us learn to be more accommodating of each other. Nothing surpasses love. I am Femi Otedola. I believe in the campaign for a violence-free world.” On his part, Mr. Cally Ikpe expressed gratitude to Otedola for finding time from his tight schedule to receive the team.
He particularly commended the amiable billionaire of global repute for endorsing the Violence-Free World campaign.
He declared that the advocacy will find expression across the length and breadth of the country and even beyond.
He said: “We intend to take this to every quarter just as I advise everyone to show love and tolerance in their words and their works. The Violence-Free World Project is presently being driven by the Ooni of Ife’s House of Oduduwa Foundation and the Cally Ikpe-led Youth Culture & Human Dignity Initiative.”
Recall that the Ooni had in September last year hosted the flag-off of the program at his palace in Ile Ife, Osun State, where a couple of individuals were honoured as peace ambassadors, notably, Tuface Idibia, Gbenga Adeyinka and Cally Ikpe.
Most significant, however, was the big event at Eko Hotels in December where a former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaokwu was honored by the Ooni as a Peace Icon for his role in promoting peace in Nigeria.
It was observed that the team was more excited about Otedola’s endorsement given its belief that it couldn’t have come at a better time when they are preparing to commence the Violence-free World Symposia in a few weeks