The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said that, as the country is currently threatened by terrorist acts in Nigeria, there is every need for all hands to be on deck to work toward restoring sustainable peace and security in all the nooks and crannies.

Ayakoroma disclosed that, it was against this background that the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), planned to organise the 2nd edition of its National Conference for Traditional Rulers (the custodians of culture), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to percolate cross-cultural ideas in proffering solution to the peace question in Nigeria.

The ES, who was fielding questions on security issues in Nigeria, during a pre-conference press chat in the Living Room of Bush House Nigeria, a production of Bush House Media Ltd, anchored by Michael Bush, on the Network Service of Radio Nigeria, the first of its kind, called for total involvement of all the citizenry (especially traditional rulers) in combating insecurity in Nigeria.

Pointing to the fact that 2015 is an election year for Nigerians, Ayakoroma said the Conference, with the theme, “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria’s Democracy,” has the prospects of contributing invaluably to ensuring lasting peace and security in Nigeria.

In his words: “There is no arguing the fact that any discussion on peace and security is very apt at this material time, unlike in 2012, when the issue was not on the front-burner. Now, we think it is very necessary that we look at the issue of peace and national security. We are looking at it from the cultural perspective, as an Institute, and we are focusing on traditional rulers. We need to continually sensitize them to underscore the importance of the culture of peace and security to national development; and to promote a culture of peace and non-violence among the citizenry. We are talking about election next year, 2015. What roles are they expected to play in Nigeria’s Democracy?”  

Talking about traditional rulers being the first peace agents in Nigeria, considering their crucial role as royal fathers in peace keeping at the grassroots, and the abnormality of the same peace agents being partisan in politics in the country, the NICO boss explained that the Conference was geared towards addressing some of the issues by way of sharing ideas and experiences among the traditional rulers.

He stressed that, “Gatherings like this (that is, the NICO confab) give opportunity for traditional rulers to have cross-cultural contacts, to cross-fertilise ideas, and those that are in crisis prone areas will be advised on how best to take care of crisis situations, so that we can have sustainable peace in the country.”

In his contribution during the media chat, a caller, Comrade Patrick Okoroafor affirmed that, traditional rulers in Nigeria have a very crucial role to play and that if they, the traditional rulers, always have Town Hall Meetings, weekly or monthly, it will help them to always have rapport with people in their communities or domains for things to work effectively, further advocating that traditional rulers should also be placed on monthly salaries to enhance their performance.

Okoroafor added that, the security issue in this country should be tackled at the grassroots with the traditional rulers being at the forefront: “If I have my way in this country, if there is any problem in any community, I will not spare the traditional rulers of that community because by the time you do that, the traditional rulers will sit up to their responsibility,” he stated.

Some other callers suggested that the conference should be organised more often and be rotated to all the six geo-political zones in the country, just as issues bothering funding of the conference, the success story of the first edition, and implementation of the Communiqué reached were raised by callers and addressed by the NICO helmsman on the programme.

It will be recalled that the 1st edition of the NICO National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security for Traditional Rulers was held in the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on the 7th and 8th of May, 2012, while the 2nd edition of the Conference will take place at the Arewa House, Kaduna on the 26th and 27th May, 2014.

Njideka Justina Dimgba

Corporate Affairs

NICO Headquarters, Abuja