andyA Senior Researcher with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Abuja, Barr. Paul Andrew Gwaza, has called for the amendment of section six, sub-section six(c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in order to compel the government to do more in projecting traditional strategies for better management of conflicts in Nigeria.

Gwaza made this call while presenting a paper, titled,“Traditional Strategies for Election Conflict Management in Nigeria,” 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 Organization (UNESCO), from 26th – 27th May, 2014, at the Banquet Hall, Arewa House, Kaduna, Kaduna State.

Gwaza, who stated that lack of dynamic leadership has been the bane of Nigeria’s attainment of democracy, good governance and accountability despite the abundant human and material resources in the country, also called for the adoption of traditional strategies in managing electoral conflicts in the country, which promises to restore social harmony, high degree of participation by all parties, and amicable settlement of disputes.

According to him, all the past elections conducted in Nigeria have been characterised by rigging, corruption, intimidation, violence and electoral fraud perpetrated through the embers of ethnic, religious, regional and primordial forces by our leaders.

While maintaining that free, fair and credible elections are imperative for democracy, choice and consent, participation and accountability, the rule of law and fundamental human rights, Gwaza further stressed that the Nigerian Constitution has elaborate provisions on democratic governance.

He further maintained that while there are peaceful and violent traditional methods of conflict resolution, the nation can adopt the peaceful traditional strategies which include citizen diplomacy, joking relationship, avoidance, oaths and symbolic diplomacy and neglect the violent strategies which comprise raiding, blood feuding and warfare.

andy2On his part, the Chairman, Trans-World Security and President, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu in a paper, titled, “Towards a Culture of Peace and National Security: New Approaches for Traditional Rulers” affirmed that traditional rulers do not only define our culture but also shape cultural values; and that while elected and appointed political leaders govern the states, traditional rulers reign over their domains as their influence, values, and cultural systems define the direction of the nation.

He however regretted that today, traditional monarchs have been restricted to merely gracing ceremonial occasions and are mostly seen and revered, but do not actively participate in the rigorous debates on the issues of the day.

Ekhomu, who further spoke on peace noted that for the Nigerian nation to survival, peace and national security must be assured, enhanced, engineered and made a reality, therefore, the royal fathers must set the strategic cultural variables that relate to promoting peace and national security in the country.

While regretting that Nigeria has faced several security challenges since independence, Ekhomu further lamented the paucity of funds for government security agents which results in performance gaps occasioned by manpower constraints and urged Nigerian citizens to join hands with the government and our royal fathers in fighting terrorism.  

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja