For three days last week in Jos, the Plateau State capital, erudite scholars from Nigerian universities engaged participants on the role of women and youths in culture, peace and national security.
It was a no-holds-barred exchange of well-thought-out and researched papers, some laced with practical street experience, not minding sentiments usually associated with national discourse on issues of peace and national security.
I am not a fan of our professors and eggheads from the academic environment but having been part of this open and sincere solution-driven confab on how we can get our country back to the road to unity and national cohesion, the conviction to join the roundtable talks took a defined and definite centre stage for me.
To avoid the burial of certain notable submissions and possibly give us insights to the positions canvassed by the erudite scholars who graced the occasion, I have clearly marked some of their thoughts for tomorrow’s introspection, particularly on the theme of the conference, “Culture Peace and National Security: The Role of Women and Youths,” put together by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in conjunction with UNESCO.
It is, however, regrettable that a few days after the gathering seeking answers to the many socioeconomic, cultural and ethnographic issues troubling us and impacting on women and youths, Jos again boiled in violence.
That sad incident washed away the shine and national media gains for the state, which has done so much to bring about peace and unity among its various ethnic groups. Be that as it may, we owe it a duty to chronicle some of the highpoints unveiled at the conference. Please, archive these timelines, hoping that Nigerians and our leaders can learn one or two lessons as we forge ahead to ingrain our culture as a pathway to peace and progress.
“We cannot just gather faculties and professors without pushing for targeted cultural training and retraining for the youths. In every national developmental agenda, women and youths must be in the forefront of the communication ecology and until that’s done we shall be struggling to achieve peace and national security,’” Professor Ama Doki of Benue State University said.
He spoke on “Towards Empowering Youths as Agents of Peace and National Security.”
“The steps by women to end conflicts could be labelled as deliberate steps towards non-violence by women. Gary (2002) in his bestselling book “Men as from Mars Women from Venus,” opined that women are relationship-oriented, more concerned with expressing their goodness, love and care, while men are more interested in “objects” and “things.” Professor Mabel Evwierhoma, University of Abuja, spoke on “Culture of Peace and Non-violence in Nigeria: The Role of Women and Youths.”
“The quest and struggles for resources leads to marginalization in the society, particularly against women and youths,” Professor Rahanatu Lawal from Ahmadu Bello University.
“The National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security is the flagship programme of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation, conceptualized in the year 2012 to draw national attention to the critical importance of peace and security to national development and to sensitize stakeholders to their role in fostering peace and security in Nigeria,” Mallam Ado Yahuza, DG, NICO.
“It started in 2019 as an armed rebellion of a religious group against the government, with the ultimate aim of establishing an Islamic state in Nigeria. The group (Boko Haram) was against any form western education and has caused thousands of deaths among the military and civilian population in Nigeria. Its activities have led to destruction of infrastructure, kidnapping for ransom, scarcity of food, inability of children to go to school,” Professor Femi Omotosho, Ekiti State University. He spoke on “Cultural Diversity Management and National Security in Nigeria.”
“I am pleased to inform you, that one of the measures the state government has taken is to institute a Forgiveness Day as a platform to sensitize our people to sink their differences and embrace peace, which is a sine qua non for the growth and development of the state,” Plateau State governor, Barrister Simon Bako Lalong.
“It is gratifying to reassure Nigerians that the administration of of His Excellency, President Muhamandu Buhari, GCFR, is committed to ensuring that no stone is left unturned to end insecurity in Nigeria. He has promised to use everything within his constitutional powers to end insecurity in Nigeria and bring the criminals and their sponsors to justice. Mr. President will keep his words,” Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his welcome address during the opening ceremony of the conference in Jos.