-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –From Michael EKOKORUWE:
The Special Adviser to Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State on peace building and conflict resolution, Chief Edwin Uzor JP, has urged community leaders, women and youths to take proactive actions in order to manage and handle conflicts in their respective communities through peace advocacy.
Chief Uzor gave the charge at Oleh, Isoko South local government area of Delta State during peace advocacy workshop for community leaders held at Isoko Development Union national secretariat.
He called on community leaders to prevent violence by acquiring capacity for development and strengthening the unity of community members to peacefully live with their neighbours and resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.
Uzor enjoined community leaders to enhance leadership ability towards building knowledge, skills, networks and better mindset as well as values to analyze and actualize the vision of the respective communities, adding that the SMART agenda of Governor Okowa for building a stronger Delta.
He maintained that women participation in the peace process will make a difference in decision and policy making, which according to him, enhances benefit in peace agreement.
“When women participate in peace talks, negotiations and crafting of peace agreements, they keep a good future for their children and grand children.”
The special adviser called on young people to be highly engaged by transforming conflict, countering violence and building peace, noting that the role of building peace, preventing violence extremism and any form of radicalization attracts government attention. He emphasized that young people have been recognized as driving force of societal change.
Uzor called on community leaders to have new vision and skills that will motivate factors of change in their communities, friends and family, adding that “the government of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa is strongly committed to providing security for the Delta people and ensuring that they have and live in peace to actualize the vision of stronger Delta”, just as he urged the people to allow government intervene through consultative dialogue to resolve conflicts.
While speaking on “X – Raying the peace situation in Isoko South local government area, the Chairman of Isoko South, Sir Itiako C. Ikpokpo emphasized on the norms and tradition of communities to avoid conflict, noting that deliberate attempt by some persons to instigate crisis through kingship tussle, tenure elongation and land dispute can cause conflict in communities.
He maintained that the oral history of towns and villages that may not be true, oil exploration benefits that are sometimes mismanaged by community leaders, deliberate unguided statements that create tension and lack of communication between community leaders and their subjects are causes of conflicts.
Ikpokpo added that some traditional rulers and community leaders fight over proceeds from oil companies and create hatred and conflict among people of the communities.
Ikpokpo urged the people to elect credible leaders and ensure adequate participation of stakeholders in the peace process. He also urged the community leaders to follow the channel of peace through government assistance and ensure that youth and women are made to stand by what is true all the time.
On his part, the President General of Isoko Development Union, High Chief Iduh Amadhe through the secretary, Dr. Chris, spoke on “Legacies of past conflicts in Isoko nation”, while Hon. Mrs. Irene Imilar, Executive Assistant to Governor Okowa on peace building and conflict resolution, spoke on “Women and youths as critical partners and change agents for positively promoting the peace agenda in Isoko nation for stronger Delta”, just as Dr. David E. Idoge spoke on “Setting a new agenda for sustainable peace in Isoko nation”.
They analyzed building a culture of peace and non – violence as a pre requisite for a new agenda for sustainable peace in Isoko nation.
The speakers explained that ending of violence and practice of non – violence through education, dialogue and cooperation with respect for promotion of human rights and fundamental freedom through commitment to peaceful settlements of conflict must be adhered to.
In attendance was Hon. Ferguson Onwo, member Delta State House of Assembly representing Isoko South constituency 2, Mr. Gabriel Abighe, S.A to Governor Okowa, Barr Afor Irogbo, S.S.A to Governor Okowa, Sese Omu S.S.A to Governor Okowa on peace building and resolution, traditional rulers, presidents general, clergymen, youths and women leaders from various communities of Isoko South..