By Agbonkhese Oboh
As solutions to insecurity, scholars and experts have said that to achieve results in peace and conflict resolution, terrorists must be denied the oxygen of publicity and that the society must have a leadership ready to engage the national and international community to drive conflict resolution.
These were some of the decisions reached at a webinar to launch of the Joseph Adolo Okotie-Eboh Peace and Conflict Resolutions Foundation, JAOPCRF, set up to help build strategies and well-researched documents to further strengthen peace and conflict resolution in Nigeria.
Speaking during a webinar on ” Peace and Conflict Resolution: The political and governance perspective,” Professor Anya O. Anya, former Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, said that the nation needs not only peace but a mechanism for conflict resolution, even though conflict is a global pandemic.
His words: “When you look around the world, particularly since terrorism took over, since the 2001 attack in the US, we realised that the world has known no peace since then.
“But it is important to point out that the use of terrorism is not for the strong, but for those who are weak and have lost the confidence and ability to do things right.”
Professor Anya stressed that the basis of terrorism is the fact that it strikes fear in minds of people and that fear creates the dynamics in the society that makes peace more difficult, hence fear drives societies to take action against terrorism.
While noting on steps societies should take to fight terrorism, the biology professor said the government should desist from announcing its operations against terrorists on radio and television but should engage in clandestine operations, else they fuel terrorism.
He added: “Terrorism is an irritant and never rarely win a battle. It helps to recreate confidence. It is clear that Nigeria needs new strategies to tackle terrorism because we not only deal with Boko Haram but bandits and robbers, which creates a general atmosphere of instability and lack of confidence in the society.
“We must, as a people, develop countermeasure by denying terrorists the oxygen of publicity.”
Former minister for External Affairs and political science professor, Bolaji Akinyemi, while stressing on three qualities necessary in resolving conflict, noted that leadership, national power and morality are key.
He said: “For you to resolve a conflict, you should have a leader who is knowledgeable enough, else he surrounds himself with a national security system that will fill in the gaps.
“However, our national security system has been made synonymous with Ministry of Defence, whereas it should be a universal usage compose of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Intelligence Agency and Ministry of Finance.”
Still on solutions to insecurity, Akinyemi added that the concept of national security system has to do with the power status of the nation.
He noted that “you need a credible national security system to mediate in conflict; we need a forceful leader who is not a bully to achieve conflict resolution.
“Generals Muritala Mohammed, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, President Olusegun Obasanjo (both in the military and civilian regime) and President Muhammadu Buhari (in his military regime) were leadership personalities who commanded respect, bordering on fear.”
Tributes for Okotie-Eboh
The webinar also featured a documentary on the life and times of Okotie-Eboh as family, friends, relatives including former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, and former governor Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion, who eulogies his passion for peace in his lifetime.
In a goodwill message, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, said everyone is a witness to the late Okotie-Eboh’s stance for peace within the context of justice.
He added: “Adolo knew that peace and conflict is an intricate part of society; how good or bad a people are is evident on how they manage conflict.
“Hence, we must carry out his vision with the foundation, which should design and pursue programmes that will break barriers in Nigeria’s multi-religious and social level groups.”
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