By Rotimi Agboluaje
“We are no longer in the dispensation of age and experience; we are in the era of knowledge. Knowledge leads a true leader and a true leader leads others “, so says a development and leadership expert and writer, Isrealmore Ayivor.
Typically, a slew of events is often organised by various organisations, corporate establishments, government agencies and others to mark the end of the year activities. Mostly, the events are characterised by merriment, carousal and jocularity.
Though it recently marked its end of the year party like some other organisations, Oyo State Command of Peace of Nigeria (PCN) marked it in a different from others. Keying into the above quote by Isrealmore Ayivor, rather than making the event a purely merry-making and convivial exercise, Oyo Peace Corps thought it as an opportune time to assemble scholars and intellectuals to imbued its the officers and men with peace education, leadership and Alternative Dispute resolution skills.
Welcoming the horde of officers and other guests who thronged the venue of the event, Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan, the state capital on Thursday, the State Commandant, Patriot Oludare Adesina, noted that the theme for the event :”Achieving Best Peace/ Alternative Dispute Resolutions Practices in Nigeria ” was chosen in the consideration that “one of the core mandates of the our organisation is ADR and non-coercive approach to conflict resolution”.
Patriot Adesina said,”The essence of this is to interface with stakeholders, the general public,especially the academic institutions as well as promoting social interactions among officers and men of the Corps”.
Going down memory lane, the Peace Corps chief who is a chartered arbitrator disclosed that ,”It is instructive to know that since 1998, Peace Corps of Nigeria has made it a compelling tradition to organise annually the end of the year ceremony but the command decided to add the annual conference considering the fact that knowledge is power”.
While harping on the need to acquire more knowledge, the security chief told the officers that :”You don’t need a cleric to tell you that knowledge of Peace /Alternative Dispute Resolutions is essential. Hence, we must therefore be prepared to face the onerous and taxing tasks. We must not feint! We must not fail! We must not falter. The whole world is watching. May I inform you that you can never read too much. But the reality is that ignorance is darker and costlier”.
After charging the officers,the guest scholars had the floor, dishing out time-tested tips on peace education,leadership and ADR. Leading the pack was Dr. Bayo Oluwole of Department of Guidance and Counseling, University of Ibadan,Ibadan.
Speaking on the theme:”Leadership with Emphasis on Teamwork and Delegated Authority “,Dr. Oluwole urged the officers to be prepared all the time.
While calling on the officers to identify their areas of competencies,the guest lecturer said leadership should be effective through teamwork and delegated authority. He reeled out time-proven principles of management, leadership and delegated authority and four processes of delegation of authority.
Urging leaders to delegate authority, the university don highlighted benefits of such management principle to include
relieving managers of more challenging jobs,motivation, improvement of subordinates’ morale,development of team spirit and facilitation of management development.
“You must first establish your leadership with each team member”, he added, stressing that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.
In his lecture, Dr. Jimmy Omomukuyo, the Vice-Chancellor/Founder of Beacon University (USA) Nigeria,titled: ” Importance of Peace Education in Nigeria School Curriculum”, pointed out that nothing could be more important for this generation than peace on earth.
According to the education administrator: ” Peace is the state of being free from any kind of human conflict and violence.
All the activities of the country run smoothly in the situation of peace. Peace is the sign of development and prosperity, to avoid the escalation of violence and terror, there had to be investments in health, education, alleviation of poverty and participation, especially for the young. Education is perhaps the single most important factor in development”.
While throwing his weight behind peace education in the curriculum, he however expressed worry about who would design the curriculum. Charging the officers to be patriotic, the educationist said all efforts and ideas must be harnessed without acrimony or rivalry to make Nigeria work. He added that, “We must try out best and pull heads together to make our country a great nation”.
While speaking on the topic: “Alternative Dispute Resolution” ,a Research Fellow, Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies(IPSS), University of Ibadan, Dr. Stephen Faleti, noted that violence and its manifestations have always created anxiety among humans.
Stressing the need for the adoption of ADR rather than litigation, the peace researcher stated that :”ADR
offers a solution to the problem of access to justice, faced by citizens in many countries; it helps litigating parties to enter into dialogue where this was not possible before, and to come to their own assessment of the value of going to court. Its processes can involve the assistance of a neutral third party and can empower parties to resolve disputes”. He emphasised that a culture of peace would lead to the achievement of human ambitions.
Adopting United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) definition, Dr. Faleti said peace education is “the process of promoting knowledge, skills and values that will bring about behavioural changes that will enable children, youths and adults to prevent conflict and overt and structural violence”.
He maintained that this would help resolve conflict peacefully and create the conditions conductive for peace, whether at intra personal, interpersonal, intergroup, national or international.
Dr. Faleti continued: “Education for Peace is about empowering people with the skills, attitudes and knowledge to build, maintain and restore relationships at all levels of human interaction; develop positive approaches towards dealing with conflicts from the personal to the international”.
“Peace education would create a safe world based on justice and human rights and build a sustainable environment based on a philosophy that teaches nonviolence, love, compassion, trust, fairness, cooperation and reverence for human family and all on planet earth”, he concluded.
Full of spectacles, other high points of the programme included the inauguration of Commanders and Executives into the newly created 35 Local Government Development Areas (LCDAs) to further deepen the existence of Corps at the grassroots with a view to patriotically serving the community and the state the more; an award ceremony for graduands whose acquired various marketable skills in soup making, cream making, juice making and products were exhibited. It was also spiced with a cultural dance from the Ido local government command cultural troupe and a raffle draw.
A goodwill message was delivered by Mrs.Titilola Caetano.
Agboluaje, an online publisher,is an Ibadan-based journalist and economy analyst. Can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.