Conflict situation in Nigeria: South west zone, mainstreaming gender in peace building processes

May 31st, 2012

[OpEd] We the members of SW zone of the network of NGOs Mainstreaming Gender in Peace  Building Processes wish to express our consolation to the families of victims of the various conflicts across Nigeria and in particular the Boko Haram meaningless bombings of offices of media houses in Abuja and Kaduna and also its latest dimension of shooting at victims in place of worship on school campus in Bayero University, Kano even as such victims try to escape among others.
These actions are most heinous and barbaric and we join our voice with all right thinking people across the world to condemn it in its entirety. The leaders of Boko Haram should learn that the joy of true success is to enjoy the benefits of the struggle with all their followers and also for ones enemies to witness the celebration of such success.
Any leader who does not fully exhaust all avenues for resolving issues through diplomacy, dialogue and negotiation before taking up arms merely exhibit a lack of adequate skill. Leaders strive to promote good livelihood for their followers; taking one’s life in the name of being a suicide bomber or suicide is acceptance of one’s lot and defeat, lack of hope that solution could come and lack of initiative and drive to live; the situation is not that foreclosed between Boko Haram and the Federal Government.
The general reasons for conflicts include feeling of unfair treatment and not getting adequate share and care from governance. There has been accusation against political office holders about high level corruption which is responsible for wide spread poverty across Nigeria but recent revelations about the internal rot in the retirement fund, Stock exchange, PTDF and others too numerous to mention here even in some State Ministries is helping many more Nigerians to better understand the anatomy of corruption in public offices: it is not so much about the politicians but about the institution called the public service that tries to make itself invincible inside it all.
This is a most scary matter to fully appreciate as one shares this truth with public servants because it is only from within the service that the kind of rebirth that can overhaul it take place. No political office holder can succeed with so much embezzlement of public funds without the active accomplice of civil servants; neither can they get away with it when they leave office except the civil servants choose to look the other away.
No nation can be better than its public servants desire and make it to be. The situation of Nigeria roads and electricity are glaring replica of the failure in all government establishments, these are only more obvious even to the casual observer because it affects everyone’s day to day life. Nigerians are seeing more clearly and also getting smarter by the day, the vehicles and houses that non political office holders line up are not as invincible as their owners think and the ‘water’ of anger and frustration will always find its level.
We appeal to all political and non political office holders of this great nation Nigeria to have a rebirth and choose to make good governance a reality instead of the senseless competition of wealth acquisition; there is more than enough to allow every Nigerian child have a fulfilled future if the economy is allowed to grow. This will be possible if we have a civil service that will not succumb to politicians bullying it at will.
Nigeria is so abundantly blessed with four things which, unfortunately, are not giving us utmost benefit:
1.         Natural resources: There is not a single inch of Nigeria’s territory that does not have mineral resources or agricultural potential, these have attracted the spirit of grabbing at all stages with all shades of connivances.
2.         Religion: Nigerians are most religious, prayerful and well renown for our zeal and intellect in the various religions that we practice, Islam and Christianity have become the two large unregistered political parties which has brought dividing lines to all things and in all institutions; religion has become the major trump card for whipping up emotions to promote selfish political and personal pursuits in employment, admission into schools, promotion and so on.
3.         Education: There are many educated and learned Nigerians making remarkable contributions in various spheres of life across the world, hardly is there any place where there is a development that there is no Nigerian there; yet, it has not translated to sustainable livelihood and such egalitarian society where poverty could be put behind.
4.         Human population: Nigeria’s population at about 150 million is enough to sustain any industry; there should be no sector of the economy lacking enough market for successful business but, unfortunately, only mobile telecom providers and organizations and individuals that draw income from government are comfortably afloat.
Policy makers and policy implementers in Nigeria must review their commitment to making Nigeria an egalitarian society for all and all aggrieved parties to sheath their bombs and guns and show their face for dialogue without recrimination for past hurts.
Nigerian women should remember their natural God given role as the mothers of the nation who ensure the continuity of our human race; they should dialogue and influence everyone within their influence to live for the future. God has helped our nation Nigeria; it is left for everyone of us to see and accept one another as equal stakeholder whose voice must be allowed to be heard fairly both verbally and through the ballot box in order to avoid violent conflicts.
 Mrs. C. B Omidiji                                                                             Pastor Ade Bodunde
Zone Coordinator                                                                                 Zone Secretary