Experts say clandestine operations, national power key to achieving peace, conflict resolution
…As Okotie-Eboh foundation berths to promote peace
Renowned scholars and experts have said that to achieve results in peace and conflict resolution, terrorists must be denied the oxygen of publicity, adding that there must credible national power to achieve results.
They also said the society must have a leadership ready to engage the national and international community to drive conflict resolution.
This was the thrust at the webinar 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 in Nigeria, which the Late Okotie-Eboh who passed on in 2019 stood for.
Speaking during a webinar to launch the foundation, on the topic, Peace and conflict resolution: the political and governance perspective, Prof. Anya Oko 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.
“When you look around the world particularly since terrorism took over, since the 2011 attack in the US, we realized 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.”
Prof. 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.
“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 counter measure by denying terrorists the oxygen of publicity”, he added.
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 gravitas (morality) are key. “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 defense, where as it should be a universal usage compose of the ministry of defense, ministry of foreign affairs, national intelligence agency and ministry of finance.”
Akinyemi said that the concept of national security system has to do with the power status of the nation. You need a credible national security system to mediate in a 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.
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 of the federal republic of Nigeria, Ovie Omo-Agege said, everyone is a witness to the late Okotie-Eboh’s stance for peace within the context of justice, “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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