By Emeka Nwokocha
A frontline Nongovernmental Organisation in Niger Delta, the Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI), on Wednesday, 30 December, 2020, rounded off a 3-day Conflict Transformation Training for critical stakeholders on “Promoting Social Cohesion through mitigation of conflict drivers in Aja-Amita, a coastal community in Warr North Local Government Area of Delta State.”
Mrs. Rachael Misan-Ruppee, Executive Director of DICI, while delivering a speech at the opening session of the training, said the initiative was put together by DICI with support from PIND, to unite rival parties in Aja-Amita community and restore lasting peace.
She gave an overview and objective of the training to include uniting the rival factions in Aja-Amita community; improving the capacity of the leaders of the community in conflict resolution, and restoring lasting peace in the community to engender socioeconomic activities and infrastructural development.
Continuing, she noted that the lingering conflict in the oil rich Aja-Amita community was inimical to progress and overall well-being of the people of the community, expressing optimism that the training would bring lasting peace in the community.
She said, “we are doing this training to make you (participants) understand the negative effect of conflict, and the socioeconomic disruptions it causes in your community.
“The training will strengthen your capacity in peace building skills, especially in conflict mediation mechanisms in order to foster peaceful coexistence among the people of Aja-Amita community.”
The training, which commenced on Monday 28 December, 2020, at Cyprain hotel, Ekpan, had experienced conflict resolution experts as trainers.
Mr. Esike Ebruke, a renowned dispute mediator, trained the participants on the root causes of conflict and violence; conflict analysis; conflict sensitivity; and negotiation/mediation skills in resolving conflicts.
He identified the root causes of conflict in Aja-Amita community and urged the participants to apply workable conflict prevention and mediation skills to keep conflict at bay. He charged the participants to jettison self-aggrandizing tendencies in order to promote equitable distribution and prudent management of resources to catalyse economic and infrastructural development in Aja-Amita community.
In the same vein, Mr. Uzezi Agbor, deployed his wealth of knowledge and experience to train the participants on core leadership skills, majoring on leadership vs position; leadership vs management; types of leaders; principles of leadership; and functions of leaders. He also taught the participants the concept of perception; and how dialogue could be used to resolve conflict.
Mrs. Bridget Affiah, Peace-building expert, taught the participants the importance of effective communication and listening skills in mitigating conflicts.
The training segments included interactive sessions which availed the participants opportunities to ask questions and make valuable contributions.
The Secretary of the Elders Council, Pa. Victor Dorsu, commended the organisers of the training. He called on the elders of Aja-Amita community to be united as one family and move the community forward.
Another member of the Elders Counsil, Pa. Frederick Esuku, commended DICI and PIND for organising the training and availing aggrieved parties the opportunity to express their grievances.
He said, “when the people in dispute are given an opportunity to air their views, it softens the ground for peace to thrive. I am happy that we have the opportunity to speak our mind at this workshop. We have all learned a lot from the trainers on how to promote peace in our community. I am appealing to all involved in the crises to go back home, talk to ourselves and resolve the dispute amicably in the interest of our fathers who founded Aja-Amita community.”
He further appealed to all to show love for one another and carry everybody along to forge a peaceful coexistence in the coming new year. “I plead with everybody to come together and resolve our differences and show “brotherly love” in the new year to foster progress in our community.”
He continued, “lt is worrisome to note that we have had scholarships for almost 30 years, still we don’t have enough doctors, we don’t have enough lawyers, we don’t have enough engineers, we don’t have enough teachers, and we don’t even have soldiers.” He continued, “l want to appeal to those aspiring for leadership positions in Aja-Amita to have the interest of the people at heart. They should be driven by vision; they should initiate developmental programmes to drive growth in the community and transform the lives of our people.” Esuku advised those who do not have qualification and competence to make progress in the community to desist from vying for leadership positions. He said, “we want credible people to ascend positions of leadership in our community. If you don’t have a credible CV don’t attempt to rule Aja-Amita again; we want people who are exposed; we want people with credible background; we want people with vast experience that can bring their wealth of knowledge to attract development in our community.”
The National Youth President of Aja-Amita community, Mr. Alfred Jemine, described the peace project as a wecome development. He said, “l thank the initiators of this peace project. I will put to practice what l have learned to be able to promote peace in my community. This is important because our community cannot move forward in an atmosphere of conflict.”
The Factional Trust Secretary of Aja-Amita community, Mr. Etan Orighoye, commended DICI and PIND for organising the training, noting the importance of effective communication in mediation of conflict. He said, “effective communication skill is key in good leadership. If every leader would be able to communicate to his followers effectively, 95 per cent of the problems in most communities would be solved.” Etan continued, “having broaden my knowledge of conflict resolution at the training, and the need for peaceful coexistence, l will return to my community and transfer this knowledge to my brothers and sisters, to ensure every body lives in unity and peace as one indivisible entity.”
The Women Delopment Officer, Warri North Local Council, Mrs. Helen Bamidele Tarose, described the peace project as a thoughtful initiative most needed to restore lasting peace in Aja-Amita community. She said, “the Council appreciates DICI and PIND for their efforts to promote peace in Aja-Amita community.” Continuing, she stated, “the training has educated the participants on the important role peace plays in the development of Aja-Amita community. I strongly believe peace will reign in the community from today onwards because the participants have told themselves the truth, l see a new regime of peace and development taking place in Aja-Amita community.”
Mrs. Esther Adeleye, noted the importance of the peace project, saying, “the organisers of this peace project have done well, most importantly, at this time we need peace most in Aja-Amita community.
The Constitution Review Committee Chairman for Aja-Amita community, Mr. Isaac Dorsu, said, “we have learned from the training, basic dispute resolution mechanisms. We will go back to our community as one family to discuss and resolve our differences. We will achieve this goal through a transition committee that will put a new constitution in place to move our community forward.”
Factional Trust Chairman, Mr. Itse Omajugho, thanked DICI and PIND for initiating the peace project. He said, “what we have learned at this training will inspire us to become peace ambassadors. We will go back to our community to preach peace to our people and bring everybody together as one family in order to move our community forward.”
He continued, “the onus lies in us to do the needful and make truth our watch word; when we follow the truth, we will get there.”
The highpoint of the training was presentation of certificate of participation to the participants.