oyelolaThe Director of Administration and Human Resources, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Barr. Abayomi Oyelola, mni, has said cultural re-orientation is imperative as the people seek to transform their nation.

Oyelola was reacting to a paper presented by the Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, titled, “Cultural Re-Orientation as a Panacea for Election Malpractices and Violence in Nigeria,” at the just concluded 2nd National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria’s Democracy, organized by the Institute, in collaboration with UNESCO, at the Banquet House, Arewa House in Kaduna, Kaduna State on Monday, May 26th, 2014.

According to him, the absence of the administration of justice in palace courts has affected peace and security within the communities, stressing that there was need for constitutional roles for traditional rulers to equip them with the required authority for community administration.

Also speaking, the Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Professor Emmanuel Dandaura said the country must learn from the past, stressing that traditional rulers should provide a link to what the people could learn from the past.

oyelola2He opined that traditional rulers are repositories of knowledge and command more respect and acceptance than the average politician, hence their relevance in conflict resolution and peace building, and therefore advocated that traditional institutions should explore their cultural festivals as a means of peace building.

In his discussion on a paper delivered by Barr. Paul Andrew Gwaza of the Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR), titled, “Traditional Strategies for Election Conflict Management in Nigeria,” Professor Chris Nwamuo of the Department of Theatre & Film Studies, University of Calabar, opined that there were two sides of conflict resolution.

While maintaining that constitutional inhibition should be amended, Nwamuo described traditional rulers as first citizens, custodians of culture and by appointment, political leaders in the local governments.

According to him, traditional rulers were mediators of the people and God, and the people and the government, saying their roles and positions should be re-defined, stating that traditional rulers should be given security personnel and ways and means of monitoring elections in their domains, also stressing that lack of involvement of traditional rulers in elections could breed chaos as they will make sure people come out to vote for the right person, ensuring one man, one vote.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja