Conflict is a natural phenomenon, it is as old as mankind, and conflict is a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. A conflict can be internal (within oneself) or external (between two or more individuals). Conflict as a concept can help explain many aspects of social life such as social disagreement, conflicts of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organizations. Conflicts in social settings can result to stress or tensions among stakeholders, seen as working towards certain goals. When interpersonal conflicts occur, its effect is often broader than two individuals involved, and can affect collective individual needs and relationships in more or less adverse and sometimes even humorous way.
Conflict is one of the major concerns not only in any given continent, it also affect the international community as well. Conflict is simply the absence of peace, and the successive introduction of diversify sense of humor of people within the context of a community or society. If this is the case then, what are the root causes of conflict? Let me approach this issue from an African viewpoint, especially with the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria as a case study. Conflict does not mean people engaging in riots, or situation of economic inhumanity or the expression of calculated grievances, conflict could be within a person. Regardless of the nature of conflict, whether within or without transcends our mere study of individualized conflict escalation.
Scholars, peace and security experts, and conflict management professionals have brainstormed on several recurrent and perpetuated conflicts involving the Ageing, youths and the Government. Answers to this has been quite cumbersome; the least in mind includes but not limited to the following:
o Inadequate Resources
o Environmental and economic degeneration etc.
o Communal attitudes
o Social and economic dilemmas
o Uneven distribution of scare resources
o Environmental degradation and spills
o Government’s lukewarmness in community and Ariel developments
o Lack of Social Infrastructures etc.
o Boundaries Problems
o Inter/intra communal clashes
It is true that after a young man/woman complete his/her studies, the expectation is to get a job and start well in their various careers. A government that denies the timid and all encompassing youths these adequate supports, entrepreneurial guidance and civil liberties; the outcome in most cases have always resulted to nationwide or sectarian violence, militancy and piracy. When expectations are high and strategically become impossible such as unavailable access to resources; resultant outcome could emanates to sequential riots, theft just to mention a few. Sickness can cause conflict especially from within an individual. In an instance where people get ill and cannot afford proper Medicare or inability to access available treatments within the area, internal crisis evolves and this is called “the Preliminary stage of conflict”.
A clash of interests, values, actions or directions often sparks a conflict; a conflict refers to the existence of that clash. Psychologically, conflict exists when the reduction of one motivating stimulus result to an increase in another, that requires new set of variable adjustment in needs and characteristic factors. A potential conflict situation does imply that there is already a conflict of direction, even though a clash may not yet have occurred. Conflict however depicts, in a crude and academic parlance, a natural disagreement resulting from individuals or groups that differ in attitudes, beliefs, values or needs. It is needless to note that there are varying causes of conflict, some of which are indicative and known, while others are synergic and morphological.
Some basic way to deal with conflicts, apart from its detailed analysis in our preceding chapters can be based on the following:
– Accommodation – surrender one’s own needs and wishes to accommodate the other party.
– Avoidance- avoid or postpone conflict by ignoring it, changing the subject, etc. avoidance can be useful as a temporary measure to buy time or as an expedient means of dealing with very minor, non-recurring conflicts. In more severe cases, conflict avoidance can involve severing a relationship or leaving a group.
– Collaboration – work together to find a mutually beneficial solution to conflict, this has to be built on an appropriate trust, respect or communication among participants.
– Compromise – find a middle ground in which each party is partially satisfied.
– Positive competition asserting one’s viewpoint at the potential expense of another can be useful when achieving one’s objectives outweighs one’s concern for the relationship. It is quite important that these competences need to be built among the young generation to enable them to make rational decisions.
Youth violence is a result of the high percentage of unemployment. Young people today in various facets of the Nigerian Economic and the socio-political life are normally misused by politician especially during electoral campaign period for their selfish and political gains. The best way to curb violence is to educate youths and young people in non-violence and in their rights as individuals and the need to embrace peace. They should be empowered on the importance of protecting their country against misuse by political bigwigs to gain political mileage and cause ethnic divisions.
MASSIVE UNEMPLOYMENT QUAGMIRE
Nigerians, and the youth in particular are vexed by issues of massive unemployment and underemployment across the Niger Delta. It is not that they are ignorant of it nor of its attendant socio-economic dehumanization of people across the nation but to inform the present government that the time has come to make it a national experience of the past and no more of the present. Statistics abound in the records of the World Bank, Transparency International and other Monitoring International Organizations of the alarming rate of unemployment in the country. There is no need to go into intellectual and statistical exercise in this discussion, but to put this matter raw as there are numerous victims of this quagmire in the area, whom I have personally interviews before anything else. Over 60% of Niger Delta active and highly productive populations are out of employment.
Since 1982 there has been overt embargo on Federal and State government employment. Think of the army of youths graduating from secondary and tertiary institutions that are shut out of jobs bearing in mind that the low level and degradable state of industrialization naturally makes Government the highest employer of labour. Even children born in 1983 up to 1990s are now men and women enlisted involuntarily into the army of the unemployed and socio-economically dehumanized of Nigeria. As citizens of this great nation, an average Nigerian consciousness has been thwarted, and has now become citizens of an otherwise resource rich country. This is the irony of Nigerians, yet we stifle like the poorest nations in Africa
The private sector was a viable employer of labour until the early 1980s when Nigeria’s huge trade deficit and international debt burdens literally shut off importation of vital raw materials for production. Gradually many otherwise buoyant companies either folded up or staggered on far below their productive capacity. The inevitable consequence of this was mass retrenchment of workers and closed doors to fresh employments. Again we dare say that the indigenization Decree as patriotic as it was to a large extent turned over foreign owned businesses to Nigerians but failed to consider our experience and technical abilities to profitably run these businesses. These businesses went under throwing their employees into the labour market. In my sustainable development proposal, I suggested that the youths of Niger Delta should be engaged through skill acquisition institutions and programmes, which should instill in the youth the necessary technical capacities and manpower.
Unemployment in the cities has mutually, inclusive of its relationship with the macro economic lives of the rural population where statistics which have shown that majority of Nigerians reside in abject poverty and economic sagacity. Our rural population still produces at subsistence level and depends heavily on financial repatriations from kinsmen and women in the cities to finance education, health care and other financially intensive projects.
To this end, unemployment in the government and the industrial sectors has had multiplier effect on our huge rural population, creating a sour scenario of an idle but virile economic population. Thanks to Nigerians in the European and American Diasporas who through thick and thin repatriate home millions of Pounds and Dollars annually to keep families alive. The consequences of massive unemployment in Nigeria are to say the least ominous.
Transparency international in 2005 ranked Nigeria as 152 of the world 157 poorest nations, as more than 50% of Nigerians live under $1 per day. There is no blackmail in this as we see sorry evidence of poverty in urban and rural areas. The world bank also estimates that only 1% of Nigerians benefit from the countries huge oil revenue, the bulk of our oil revenue end up in white elephant projects like the Festival of Arts and Culture embarked upon by the General Obasonjo administration in 1977; while others end up in frivolous contracts and in private accounts abroad. The FESTAC edifice in Lagos called the National Theater is now a den of Robbers and Public toilet. What a waste!
A miserable and unbalanced meal a day is now luxury in most homes, accommodation in urban areas is a mirage for most Nigerians, as we cannot afford galloping house rents. Medicare is beyond the reach of Nigerians as our dilapidated hospitals are mere consultation and prescription centers. Helpless Nigerians leaves the hospitals without money to procure their drugs, some of us before the day go dark, resort to primitive unscientific concoctions and millions die in the process.
Many of our people who are lucky to secure European and American visas flee out of the country to take up menial jobs abroad. Every responsible Government strives to provide her people with the basics of life such as food and shelter. While we suffer under man made poverty, our political leaders go on jamborees abroad with public funds and even flaunt their opulence before our very faces.
It is imperative to note that, with the way things are going, politically, socially and economically, we have come naturally to the elastic limit of our national endurance. Most Nigerians during election and on the ballot consciously elected their Hancock leaders for a turn around in their fate to restore DIGNITY to their fellow countrymen as embodied in our National Anthem and in their oath of office.
In every country or even community youths are the engines of socio-economic development. Age gives the youth the advantage of strength, motivation, innovation and adventure. An ageing population is a spent force. It has mainly experience to give to the society, and is obviously less productive than the youths. Economically youths are 70% of the work force and any country that neglects this fact and depends on the ageing population through the recycling process is destined for doom.
Through employment embargoes in the Public Service spanning over 25years now and the failure of the private sector to actively engage in reasonable production millions of Niger Delta youths are rendered idle and unproductive, thereby resorting to militancy, kidnapping and other social vices too many to be mentioned here. There are cases of Nigerian graduates who have remained unemployed for over ten years. In most cases they went through Federal Educational institutions with public funds by way of Government subsidies and capital investments in these institutions. The result is a colossal waste of valuable public funds and productive labour necessary for the socio-economic advancement of the nation.
The neglect of the youths in the economic process of this country has so many socio-economic consequences, economic revival and growth despite several government visionary programmes will continue to remain a mirage. The Nation’s youths are impoverished and their remix for survival have become ready agents of destruction, anarchy and confusion in the service of the privileged few who are mostly politicians.
Many of our youths are now experts in international scam called ‘419’ and the ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ panorama in Nigeria. This activity of Nigerian youths which was born out of a degenerated national economy has become an anathema to our country; created international loss of confidence in Nigeria and its people and has scared away much needed foreign capital and enterprise.
In our present day nascent democratically coined due process/rule of law mechanism, the principle of succession and continuity is ignored in this country with fatal consequences. As the Youths are denied administrative, political and economic training and involvement in our nation, we are steadily heading towards anarchy because nature abhors vacuum and the aged will inevitably quit the stage someday for their inexperienced successors to run a jungle government. Is this not an Irony of a Nation?
The youths of America fights American battles, and answer patriotic calls to duty for what their country does for them. To have job, or being employed in America is not to go hungry or begging; their country cares for them in times of distress, while our experience in Nigeria is different. The leadership of our country has been very selfish, non visionary, insensitive to the youths and have killed in them every sense of patriotism and nationalism.
The purpose of this book is to provide an advocacy channel in the removal of every obstacle to foreign investment inherent in the indigenization decree, which is a part of the constitutional concurrent list of states’ fundamental rights in the country; liberalize further the economy, reduce unemployment to its barest minimum and move the nation out of its economic quagmire.
The present administration’s policies on the application of the 7 point Agenda is a challenge to the youths of Rivers State, Beyelsa, Edo, Ondo and elsewhere in other parts of Niger Delta, the East and South-South geo-political zones; underpinning this administration and its successive ones, several methods of political card-scoring techniques have been initiated. The masses have thrown their support on this current Yar ‘Adua/Jonathan Administration as they have collectively, with all hands on deck pulled down anti-progressive structures in our country that at best serve the interest of a few at the expense of the majority.
It is paramount to note that few things in the scheme of things is required to galvanize development in the nation, through the execution of three (3) or at least four (4) of the overall number 7-plus-2-point Agenda, and as long as governance is concern the masses actually do not have a clue on bent economic, political and socio-political issues in terms of development. This may be in their crude state, yet we cannot underscore the economic importance of the youth so far in Mr. President’s 7 point Agenda policy.
Nigerians’ hope for better patriotic governance is yet to come, but we must all work out modalities collectively towards sustaining our democracy and undivided federalism. The case is half solved if this administration through its think-tank is able to combine all technical and academic scholarship in result reaching goals. Non governmental organization, International donor agencies and Multinational Corporation can also share in the overall implementations of the MDGs and the 7-point Agenda; instead of hiding in the shadows of dirty politics. While donor agencies, NGOs and private philanthropic Organisation have be praised for a job well done in several communities, a handful of multi-national organization have received such recommendation in terms of civil/corporate responsibilities.
It is time we shake off this dust of stupidity, concentrate on our economy, politics, society, culture and people, other than going through an unfortunate marigold of our national taboo. While 78% of Nigerian may claim the “it is well” syndrome, many Nigerians are of the nation that our national development is eminent, without this our long-protected federalism is in jeopardy and the foundation of our people; in terms of unity and peace may linger anti-clockwise.
THE PARADOX OF NIGER-DELTA CRISIS.
I may fail in my hypothesis to typically equate the sum-total of the overall reality principles of poverty, and wealth in correspondence with their aggravating limits in the Nigeria socio-economic dynamics. A lot of our activities in societies today can be defined by a sharp series of limitation on every living thing, at least those with corporate existence; the final boundary being death.
In the ideal world of matter, we only have so much energy to expend before our strength are gone or where we get tired, only so much in the way of food and resources is available to us; our skills and capacities can go only so far. Every one of us lives within the aforementioned limits, both the poor and the wealthy, in fact every living thing in the animal world live within this threshold. What differentiates us from animals is that while we are colossal replica of sufficient reason for our existence, and while we may have all the necessary reason bequeathed to all of the essential monads (we being subjects containing predicates). Though animals too have the same, yet minor sufficient monads for existence. It does not try to fly higher or run faster or expend endless energies amassing a pile of food (or in the case of man wealth), for that would exhaust it and leave it vulnerable to attack and other forms of degeneration and degradation. It simply tries to make the most of what it has. A monkey, for instance, instinctively practices an economy of motion and jumping, yet never wasting effort.
The above behooves the state of poverty, and the hypothesis we have exhausted so far explains all the exemplary variables, and their awareness of their limits, forced to make the most of what they have, they are endlessly inventive without efforts, yet accurate motion. Necessity has a powerful effect in their creativity.
Although the wealthy and affluent have course to remain contented, nevertheless the rich also cry, and they suffer much by virtue of the necessitated ignorance of their limits. The problem face by the rich and wealthy that live in a society of abundance is that they some times in more than 92% variation lose a sense of limit. They are carefully shielded from death, misery, pains, troubles etc, and pass months, even years, without contemplating those regulating limits. The rich imagine endless time at their disposal and slowly drift further from reality; they imagine endless energy drawn to their fantasies and testacy, thinking they can get what they want simply by trying harder – by virtue of this analysis I am a living witness.
An accurate example can be drawn using the variances that exist in most societies in the Niger Delta; I have been of several impoverished communities in the Niger Delta Oil Producing Communities, what anyone will see is usually disheartening, only seen in movies and textbooks; yet the poverty in this places caused by high level conspiracy between the federal government, Multinational corporations, state government, local government, political jobbers and mediocre in high places, the ‘who’s who’ in Nigeria, the oil magnet, the boy that does the dirty work, and the blue-bloods etc. while the poor or the inhabitant of these communities suffers the consequence of the spillage and economic sabotage done to the places in the name of federalism or the ‘one Nigeria ‘ syndrome, yet this obsession and greed has thwarted justices and fairness even within the ambit of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
The Federal structure and their unholy romance with the conspirators have fashioned a new name, a ceasefire roll call for the aggrieved (Militants) groups of Niger Delta; they nick-named called “Amnesty”. Those very wealthy people who perpetrated this necessary evil, (one can’t blame them) have begun to see everything as limitless the goodwill of friends and their perpetrators, the possibilities of wealth and fame. The question is, who does really need the Amnesty; those sabotaging or those whose land and prosperity are being sabotaged?
The rich possesses more classes and books and they can extend their talents and skills to the points where they become different people. Technology can make everything achievable, with their obsession exceeding the limit of conscience and justice. Their thoughts have transformed the goodwill in them into the worst form of barbarity and inhumanity against their countrymen. They have exceeded their limits to the threshold of ignorance; to a height of murder; assassination, genocide and civil injustice against their fellow citizen simply for a limited resources, which by right belong to the inhabitant of same society they intend to annihilate. This facts negates the fundamental human right advocated by Transparency International, it flows into the heart of civil liberty and social contract contained in our hallow Constitution.
Since 1958 Oil in the Niger-Delta has made a lot of wealthy Nigerian especially the Northerners sick and psychotic, this schizophrenic tendencies is transmissive and non-contagions. These folks in the north, west, and east and in the south-south Niger-Delta, who swims in the abundance of oil have restored to high level conspiracy with the federal structure in preparatory genocide, this in collaboration with multinational companies, strategists in the federal structure the presidency and every body in the cartel of national, continental and international conspirators. It is now a do or die affair, the great mystical political Order and the caretakers of Nigeria cannot claim innocence, they certainly have a clue of the ongoing national oil crisis, and manslaughter in Gbaramatu in Delta State. The aforementioned are one of the series of abominations, barbarity and perpetuated against the Niger-Delta region by the federal government and its cohorts.
Apologist may argue on this matter, and will refute any blame levied on the federal government. A thoughtful reflection on the whole scenario will assist us in who carried the huge blame, as the communities themselves also share in this atrocity, as they recurrently perpetrated self-style economic and environmental degradation through pipe vandal, bombardment of Multinational oil companies’ facilities operating in the region, kidnapping and other forms of criminal activities.
As regard the affluent that have fattened themselves with the blood and sweat of the innocent, and have provoked ethnic violence and other religiously motivated conflict across the country for seemingly political reasons understand the rhetoric to amass wealth. Abundance makes them swim in dreams, for in dreams there are no limits but the manipulation of grandeur. In reality it makes them very poor simply for the unavailability of peace, civil liberty and justice in their lives. Instinctively these folks are not happy, and can’t move freely. Due to unguided actions and collaboration in the grand conspiracy, have limited their freedom. It makes them soft and decadent, bored with what they have and in need of constant stocks to remind them that they are alive.
THE DUBAI PARADOX
There is rumored claimed for the actualization of the Vision 202020, which abounds in the present Administration’s Seven point Agenda. Dubai will serve as a reawakening grip on the phony contained in this administration’s theoretical fallacy, and may provoke the twist of what development entails. The United Arab Emirate (UAE) and its economic heart Dubai was planned and modeled in anticipation. Under ten (15) Dubai became the present fast growing economy of the 21st century, because the Dubai governance was transparent irrespective of the leadership structure in place. The Shirk who’s the paramount Ruler along with his team of reformers need Dubai to growth faster, which in 1989, a team of geologist predicted the dry-up of the crude oil reserve. The leadership structure had to spice up their leads on the economic sustainability of the Island rounded by salty ocean.
A round table conference of entrepreneurs, economist, and both foreign and domestic investors amongst others was called. They deliberated, and agreed on several issues. This can also be called a sovereign national conference, which was aborted and sabotage by the Obasanjo’s administration. One of the brilliant issues was for proper, planned and dynamically feasible investment plans; and tourism was keyed in as the locus standi of the economic revolution of Dubai. A new boom of investment commenced, with the Shirk taking the lead, and initiating the building of the first seven (7) Star Hotel in the world; a project that caused the investors almost Ten Billion Dollars (USD$10B). The process for the Dubai economic revolution was a swift one, yet it declared by World Bank 2000 Journal on 20 economies of the world, as the Jet age economy; because of its fast growing nature.
In all aspect, the entire economic had a definite revolution. In Aviation, Agriculture, Tourism, Housing, International/Bilateral relations and trade etc, the economy savage its difficult times, and utilized proficiently its limited resources. In Importation, tariffs were reduced at no cost, and the Dubai Port was entirely duty-free. Because Dubai has no freshwater zone, there was a proposal for Salination was initiated, and today Dubai has the biggest Salination plant in the world. In housing the revolution was carried out through the sand-filling process of its Island and to a great extent the land mass has increased spontaneously; the ‘Palm Island’ of more than a thousand (1000) housing units is an example of this Economic development and revolutionary score-card in their housing scheme.
The economy of Dubai was transformed overnight with all the necessary sacrifices made by its leaders, and they were willing to sacrifice anything, even their lives to preserve the life of the unborn. The Economy itself has trained professionals over the 10years development target, and today, Etisalat Network in Nigeria, amongst other Companies are example of Dubai’s economic expansion. Yet the Niger Delta which creates more than 58% of the nation’s wealth, and doubles the Oil and Gas exploration of Dubai is in economic quagmire. An Ariel Photography reveals the sour propaganda of the government over time, and its attempt to resolve conflict in the region.
With the right principles of due process and the rule of law, Niger Delta is too meager to develop, that is, if the Federal government is ready to make the appropriate sacrifices. The revenue allocation principles and its agitation for a fair share of the resources by the Niger Delta people may not be the immediate solution to the restive problems in the area, the government and stakeholders should initiate a development plans solely for the region and not a framework of project in conjunction with other states. The error of policy formulation is that, the federal government has likened the Region as parts of a federal structure that will naturally develop along with certain policies that are holistic.
The N-Delta region itself needs a radical policy implementation, different from national economic development master plans. We cannot play on the psyche of the people, rather, as Transparency International Coined “Draconian Approach of Economic Revolution” of the Region. The idea was that, whatever the situation, it requires effective collaboration of both the federal government and Private sector investments; those that behooves Federal and State Government partnership and participation in economic development of the aforesaid Niger Delta Region. If this is the case, within a span of less than 10yrs, the region can experience adverse structural development spine and place the area in the forefront of government agenda. With the Master Plans initiated by investors and think-thank thinkers, the area under 10 years can surface to the status of Dubai, placing development in the area in spontaneous phases.