AN EXAMINATION OF INDIGENOUS METHOD OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENTIN OKABISI, ENUGU STATE
Background of Study
The destabilising character of community conflict is one of the distinguishing elements of socioeconomic and political processes not just in Nigeria, but also in many other African nations. Domestic instability in Nigeria, particularly after 1999, has been thoroughly recorded by researchers, as illustrated by the works of Imobighe (2003), Egwu (2003), Osaghae and Suberu (2005), Salawu (2010), Fawole and Bello (2011), amongst others (Boege 2016). . Surprisingly, the socioeconomic cost and concomitant humanitarian catastrophes linked with these communal crises have been enormous and mind-boggling.Over the years, many scholars have shown that traditional institution and their role in conflict resolution has been the major phenomena in recent years and most especially after United Nations General Assembly adapted resolution A/RES/61/295 on Thursday, 13th September 2007 in New York (http://www.un.org). Traditional institution play a major role in the everyday resolution of disputes and maintenance of order in communities throughout the Africa. For traditional rulers they play a significant role in the maintenance of order and resolution of disputes including, in particular, in many post-colonial countries such Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. This is also the case in the socially diverse societies of sub-Saharan Africa. For example; In Malawi between 80 and 90% of all disputes are processed through traditional justice forums (Afigbo, 2022), In Bangladesh an estimated 60-70% of all disputes are processed through customary Salish (UNDP, 2005), In Sierra Leone approximately 85% of the population falls under the jurisdiction of customary law, defined under the Constitution as the rules of law, which, by custom, are applicable to particular communities in Sierra Leone (Akpomera, 2020).
Broadly, conflict is a straining of the relationships between two or more parties with divergent beliefs and roles, which can be over ideology, politics, religion that can lead to a struggle, resistance, opposition, antagonism, discourse, clash set up by clash between opposing and contradicting impulses in an individual which leads to decline in morals. Among the strategies aimed at preventing, managing, and settling internal conflicts in divided societies, traditional approaches have usually been associated in particular with self-determination conflicts, or more precisely with conflicts in which territorial concentrated identity groups (whose identity is, in part, derived from association with this territory, or homeland, in which they reside) demand to exercise their right to self-determination (Adesoji, 2019).
Significantly, the art of resolving conflict is borne out of a belief that conflict which is inevitable could and should not be left alone, it therefore needs to be put under control by interacting with relevant parties to develop common generalization or principles and practices that would return cordial relationship against violence. During conflicts, traditional rulers therefore undoubtedly played significant roles in managing these conflicts informally and arranging peace-making meetings when matters get out of hand. These governance institutions and structures were controlled by certain unwritten laws which formed part of the general social structure, and, its machinery of enforcing governnance was well-organized to manage affairs, administered justice and resolve tension in the society. However, during colonial era, there was a role change as the roles and offices of traditional rulers were either usurped by the colonialist or their subjects.
In many post-colonial countries, including each of those discussed in this paper, state laws and institutions (such as courts, lawyers, justice ministries, police and prisons) operate alongside customary ‘or traditional institution mechanisms that have been integral parts of indigenous social orders since long before the arrival of the modern state. These older traditional ‘approaches have not disappeared under the cumulative weight of modernity, statehood and globalization. Chiefs and other custom leaders can be important sources of guidance for families, community people’s interest in the socio-political space and if they gain a greater understanding of children‘s rights, they can play a significant role in helping to change attitudes and behaviour (Boege, 2016). Looking for such areas of common ground between custom and human rights, and peace making even when advocating for particular aspects of social and political issues, will assist with protecting the best interests of their communities.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The large number of ethno-political, ethno-religious, terrorism and land related conflicts, is a matter of great concern too7. More worrisome is the growing application of western methods of conflict management in Nigeria with little or no positive impact. Alhough it is a general notion that conflicts are inevitable and part and partial of human nature. However, the non participatory roles of traditional rulers in the present day administration as compared to their roles in managing and resolving conflict in pre-colonial Nigeria is accounting mainly for the decades of social conflicts that is manifesting itself in our socio-economic and political circuit as observed by Babatunde (2022). Contrarily, Egwurube (2018) asserts that the long standing conflicts in Africa have been solved using the formal institutions that have not resulted in sustainable resolution of conflict and peace. Bizarrely, the formal institution is far away from the people, very time consuming, costly and highly formalistic, with confusing procedures and unpredictable outcomes, focused on individual capability and on the punishment of the individual. Thus many people have loose faith in the fairness and the efficiency of the formal institution. According to Abdullah (2017), this development does not only renders traditional rulers and her institutions irrelevant but also creates threats to peace, security and stability in the nation.
While much attention has been focused to the alternative methods of conflict management and resolution in Nigeria, little attention has been paid to the role of traditional institutions that can address the problem of conflict in Nigeria. It is within this gap, that the argument of this paper is located. This paper considers what the indigenous Methods of conflict management and resolution can do in addressing the ever ranging conflicts in the country. Consequently, the loss of respect for traditional values had created a moral vacuum. Assuch conflicts have increased in contemporary Nigerian societies and hence the need to trace traditional roots to deal with the situation using traditional conflict resolution and management strategies as a micro unit for analytical generalization
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study is to examine the an examination of indigenous method of conflict management. The specific objective is as follows:
To determine whether indigenous methods are effective approach to conflict management in Okabisi, Enugu State.
To determine the whether traditional rulers council are relevance in conflict resolution in Okabisi, Enugu State.
To establish the indigenous methods adopt in conflict management in Okabisi, Enugu State.
To identify the challenges limiting the e method efficacy of indigenous in conflict management in Okabisi, Enugu State.
1.4 Research Questions
Below are questions that guided the researcher to evaluate conflict resolution and the contribution of traditional rulers council.
Are indigenous methods effective approach for conflict management in Okabisi, Enugu State?
Are traditional rulers council and other indigenous institution relevant in conflict resolution in Okabisi, Enugu State?
What are the indigenous methods adopt in conflict management in Okabisi, Enugu State?
To identify the challenges limiting the e method efficacy of indigenous in conflict management in Okabisi, Enugu State?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study was justified by the need for Nigeria to make changes or reforms in her justice or legal system to allow greater flexibility in conflict resolution arena by encouraging alternative conflict resolution methods to reduce/ mitigate conflicts and removing barriers to justice to all and increase peaceful co-existence. It is hoped that findings of this study may help conflict resolution system e.g. courts to evaluate inclusion of traditional institutions in conflict resolutions. This therefore may form a basis for the modification and harmonization of the present modern court system and traditional institution in conflict management. The findings may also be helpful to the ministry of justice, National cohesion and constitutional affairs to establish traditional and justice in the use of traditional institutions and methods in determining and dispensing justice. To help the court system to have training manuals for in-service courses for special magistrates, judges and traditional experts on the Activities, methods, relevance and the challenges towards the contribution of the traditional institution in conflict management in modern Nigeria.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on examination of indigenous method of conflict management..The study further establish the different mechanism adopted by traditional ruler’s council in conflict resolution. The study further determine whether indigenous method are relevant in modern society. Lastly, the study identify the challenges in applying traditional method in conflict management. Hence the study is delimited to Enugu State.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that traditional rulers council and conflict resolution discourse is vast thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only residents f Okabisi in Enugu State. Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other states within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.9 Definition of terms
Conflict: A situation in which people, groups or countries are involved in a serious disagreement or argument.
Conflict Resolution: Refers to a way of solving any disagreement between people, organization and community for the existent of peace to reign.
Traditional institutions: Refer to all those people-based and local approaches that communities innovate and utilize in resolving localized disputes, to attain safety and access to justice by all