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 “
The Oyo State Command of Peace of Nigeria (PCN) recently organised its end of the year party but it was an interesting departure from the usual merrymaking gatherings of other organisations.
The PCN keyed into the above quote by Isrealmore Ayivor, a development and leadership expert, and assembled eggheads, scholars and intellectuals to imbue its officers and men with peace education, leadership and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) skills.
While welcoming the horde of officers and guests to Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan, the State Commandant, Patriot Oludare Adesina, noted that the theme for the event, ”Achieving Best Peace/ Alternative Dispute Resolutions Practices in Nigeria ” was chosen, considering that “one of the core mandates of the our organization is ADR and non-coercive approach to conflict resolution”.
According to Patriot Adesina, “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”.
The Peace Corps chief who is a chartered arbitrator noted that “since 1998, Peace Corps of Nigeria has made it a compelling tradition to organize annually the end of the year ceremony but the command decided to add the annual conference considering the fact that knowledge is power”.
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 faint! We must not fail! We must not falter. The whole world is watching. May I inform you that you can never read too much. The reality is that ignorance is darker and costlier”.
The guest scholars later went on to dish out time-tested tips on peace education, leadership and ADR.
Dr. Bayo Oluwole of Department of Guidance and Counseling, University of Ibadan, spoke on the theme:”Leadership with Emphasis on Teamwork and Delegated Authority “. He urged the officers to be prepared all the time.
While calling on the officers to identify their areas of competencies, the guest lecturer reeled out time-proven principles of management, leadership and delegated authority and four processes of delegation of authority.
Dr. Jimmy Omomukuyo, the Vice-Chancellor/Founder of Beacon University in his lecture, titled: ” Importance of Peace Education in Nigeria School Curriculum”, stressed: ” 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 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.
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 the Corps at the grassroots and an award ceremony for gradients who have acquired various marketable and vocational skills. The event was also spiced up by a raffle draw and a cultural dance from the Ido local government command cultural troupe.
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