A Communiqué Issued At The 2nd National Conference On “Culture, Peace And National Security: The Role Of Traditional Rulers In Nigeria’s Democracy,” Organized By National Institute For Cultural Orientation (NICO), In Collaboration With The United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) From 26th–27th May, 2014 At The Banquet Hall, Arewa House, Kaduna, Kaduna State.
The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), organized the 2nd Two-Day National Conference on the theme: “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria’s Democracy,” at the Banquet Hall, Arewa House, Kaduna, Kaduna State, from 26th-27th May, 2014, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Over 110 traditional rulers from all the thirty-six (36) states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja attended the conference, which was declared open by the Special Guest of Honour, His Excellency, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, GCON, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was represented by His Excellency, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, Deputy Governor, Kaduna State.
The chairman of the opening ceremony of the 2nd National Conference was the Wazirin Katsina, Dr. Sani Abubakar Lugga. The Royal Father of the Day was His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, Shehu of Borno, who was represented by his brother, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Bashir Al-bashir, the Emir of Machina, Yobe State. The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, was represented by Alhaji Yusuf Abdallah Usman, Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).
Other dignitaries present at the occasion were Hon. Ben Nwankwo, Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Ibrahim Isma’il, Chairman, NICO Governing Board, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Jibril, Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, UNESCO Officials, Mr. M. M. Maidugu, Executive Director, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Dr. Kabir Usman, Director-General, Centre for Management Development, Prof. Kyauta Tanyigna, former Member representing the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) on NICO Governing Board, National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO) officials, His Royal Highness, Igwe (Prof.) Laz E. N. Ekwueme, Eze Ijikala II, Ozioko Igwe Oko, Anambra State, and King Godwin Igodo, Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, amongst others.
Four addresses and five goodwill messages were presented at the conference. The technical session was chaired by Professor Pindir P. Izah, Department of Political Science and Director, Institute for Development Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. A total of six papers were presented by erudite scholars.
Among the paper presenters were:
- Professor Emmanuel Dandaura, Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi;
- Professor Chris Nwamuo, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Calabar; and
- That the insecurity of lives and property is the greatest challenge confronting Nigeria today.
- That all Nigerians, including women, young girls and even prominent royal fathers have become victims of the insurgents, who have no regard for sanctity of human life.
- That the current unprecedented security challenges in the country were precipitated and sustained by the erosion of our ethical values of honesty, hard work, respect for elders and the sanctity of human life.
- That Nigerians are generally peace loving people with deep respect for constituted authority and sanctity of life, whose invasion has contributed largely to incidences of violent crimes and general insecurity in the country.
- That a constitutional role for the royal fathers who are not only the embodiment and custodians of our culture and traditions but also of peace and security will go a long way in fostering enduring peace and security in Nigeria.
- That high rate of unemployment has contributed to youth restiveness and general insecurity in the country.
- That for our highly respected traditional rulers to effectively play their time-tested roles as the custodians of the culture and tradition of the people as well as that of maintenance of peace and security in their domains, they are advised to refrain from active partisan politics.
On the other hand, the discussants were;
At the end of the conference, the following high points were adopted by the participants.
In the light of the above observations, the following recommendations were made:
- That any genuine effort at peace and security management in Nigeria, rests squarely on the complementary roles of all levels of government and traditional institutions which constitute veritable agents of grassroots mobilization in cultural, political and economic orientation.
- That since national security implies several critical elements such as, military security, economic security, food security, political security, environmental security and cultural security, any genuine efforts for peace and security should require structural reforms of the country in order to restore normalcy in Nigeria.
- That traditional rulers should be assigned constitutional roles for their proactive participation in peace building and in conflict management in the country.
- That civic education, based on ethical values of mutual love, trust, tolerance, and respect for people, should be integrated into the curricula at all levels of education in the country.
- That the current security challenges in the country should be better managed through proper consultation and orientation of all stakeholders, including traditional institutions, as well as transparent and accountable governance, anchored on peace, love, unity in diversity, patriotism and national development.
- That the electoral reforms in the country should incorporate our ethical values, such as, honesty, sincerity of purpose, mutual respect for all, tolerance, patriotism, hard work, creativity, integrity, peace and good characters devoid of bribery, corruption, impunity and religious bigotry.
- That there is a need to review and amend section 6(6c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to enable government to do more in projecting traditional strategies for electoral conflict management in the country.
- That participants commended NICO and UNESCO for their initiative in organising the conference, and urged that more editions be organised periodically for traditional rulers in the country as it has potentials of significantly addressing most of our security challenges.
- That provision of more employment opportunities and creation of conducive business environment for both public and private sectors to thrive will go a long way in addressing youth restiveness and security challenges in the country.
- That all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political divide, should support the current efforts of the Federal Government to bring back the over 200 girls kidnapped at Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by the insurgents, as well as bring a lasting solution to youth restiveness and general insecurity in the country.
- That the participants urge the Federal Government and various State Governments to provide financial support to NICO and Traditional Rulers for regular hosting of the National Conference.
- That the Federal and State Governments should empower traditional rulers for effective networking with various security agencies in intelligence gathering.
Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, PhD
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO)