By Stephen Adeleye.
The Kukah Centre (TKC) has organised a regional two-day capacity building for stakeholders in North Central on ‘Peace and Conflict Management’, under its Independent State Based Peace Architecture (ISPA).
Speaking at the training centre on Wednesday in Lokoja, Mr Lawson Eselebor, the Project Manager, TKC, said the peace capacity building was an extension of the National Peace Committee to facilitate and advocate overall peace in Nigeria.
Eselebor said the participants would be introduced to practical conflict resolution techniques and strategies to effectively utilise when managing conflict.
Eselebor said the initiative was meant to build capacity of the stakeholders as a result of the fallout from the just concluded general elections in the country.
“There are some consequences from the results of the elections, because we have violence before, during and after the elections at different locations across the country.
”We know that conflict which is the focus for this training is inevitable, with both positive and negative outcomes but it depends on how you manage the situation.
”If conflict is properly managed with the right tools, techniques and approach, then the results will be favourable.
”But when you avoid conflicts or apply the wrong tools and techniques, they cause violence, destructions, killings as we have seen in these elections,” he said.
Eselebor said the training would empower stakeholders to see within their local content how they could manage whatever conflict that might arise after the elections.
He said the stakeholders in Kogi would work for peace in the upcoming governorship election in the state to prevent conflicts to the barest minimum before, during and after the election.
”We all know the role the National Peace Committee plays in trying to broker peace in the country and exploring peace meetings with political parties and their candidates.
”So, we are trying to replicate that at the various state levels because of peculiarities of each state through conflict resolution mechanisms.
”Over 600 persons would be trained on peace building in each state on conflict management and the roles that communication plays in conflict management.
”This is the first regional training taking place in Lokoja for 50 participants from five states namely: Kogi, Benue, Nasarrawa, Kwara and Oyo.
”We will also engage those in North East, North West, South East, South West, and South South,” Eselebor said.
One of the facilitators, a legal practitioner, Gloria Ballason, said the major cause of crisis in political scene was the absence of justice and accountability.
”There cannot be peace without justice, and there cannot be justice without truth, and there cannot be truth without objectivity and courage.
”So, except we are able to apply those key components to the peace architecture in Nigeria, it will be difficult to have sustainable peace.
Ballason, who is a Short Term Expert for The Kukah Peace Project, stressed the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to discharge its obligation as an independent body by declaring election results that reflect the vote of the people.
She noted that outcomes of elections should not be all about going to court but about accountability, saying the huge money allocated to INEC to run elections should be justified.
According to her, the job of INEC is not just to count the votes but to also account for the votes to ensure fairness and justice.
Ballason urged political parties to take responsibility through in-house cleansing that would ensure the right things were done.
”It is also important that citizens take responsibility and ownership of the process of peace that is predicated on justice,” she said.
Ballason urged political parties in the upcoming Kogi Governorship election not to manipulate the process by putting party interest above national interest and that of the voters to freely choose their leaders.
Two of the participants, Ronke Adegoke from Kwara , and Mr Salaudeen Aliyu from Kogi, both said the training had broadened their knowledge on peace and conflict management.
They promised to cascade the peace capacity training and make meaningful impact in their various communities and localities. (NAN)