Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.
William Blake, an English poet, painter, and printmaker once wrote, ” to replace the old paradigm of war with a new paradigm of waging peace, we must be pioneers who can push the boundaries of human understanding. We must be doctors who can cure the virus of violence. We must be soldiers of peace who can do more than preach to the choir. And we must be artists who will make the world our masterpiece.
“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. We’ll have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before sunset in which to win them. Look well to the fire of your souls, for the tendency of fire is to go out.”
Conflict resolution in traditional African societies, especially in Yorubaland, provides opportunity to interact with the parties concerned, promotes consensus-building, social bridge reconstructions and enactment of order in the society.
While the western world places more emphasis on the judicial system presided over by council of elders, kings’ courts, assemblies for dispute settlement and justice dispensation.
Whereas, traditional conflict resolution techniques such as mediation, adjudication, reconciliation, and negotiation as well as cross examination, as employed by the Alaafin’s administration offer great prospects for peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationships than the modern method of litigation settlements in law courts.
Conflict is as natural as the concept of peace, contrary to the global or universal conception.
Yoruba people have particular ways of conceptualizing conflict.
Conflicts are in the magnitude of rage, rift, misunderstanding, family and market brawls, skirmishes and wars, public insurrections and assaults. It also includes chieftaincy and land disputes.
These storms of conflicts are wide spread in Yoruba land.
A conflict situation emerges when two or more parties could not agree on an issue.
Yoruba conflicts are not susceptible to prediction, although it can be explained.
Overt manifestations of conflict are seldom unremitting, even in relations between rival cultures.
As the late Royal Icon, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, often said, ” there is nothing wrong with conflict, it is a critical mechanism by which goals and aspirations of individuals and groups are articulated, a channel for definition of creative solutions to human problems, a means towards creative solutions to human problems, and a means to the development of a collective identity”.
Peace, he stated, has always been among humanity’s highest values, and . some, the Supreme Being, adding that “the most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war, as peace is more important than all justice”.
These analogies formed the bedrock of a peace meeting organised for shortlisted aspirants to the Alaafin stool by the Oyo Traditional Council (Oyo Mesi) and assisted by Atiba Local Government.
The meeting held on Saturday at the Agbala Ogun Hall in the ancient Palace and which was well attended by contestants, young and old, from the next Royal ruling House, the Agunloye, to provide a candidate that will occupy the exalted Alaafin’s seat.
The peace meeting was a re -union and veritable avenue for the aspirants of the same family to brainstorm, ventilate their minds and interact mutually.
In fact, members of the Agunloye Ruling House portrayed themselves as One Strong and United Family for their dexterity, sense of commitment and culture of decency.
The Chairperson of Atiba Local Government, Alhaja Kafilat Mojisola Olakojo, was also in attendance with the Director of Administration, Mr. Ayoola as Observers.
In his address, the Regent and Basorun of Oyo, High Chief Yussuf Akinade Ayoola Layinka 1, said it is only when they are together, devoid of bickering, animosity that they can remove the defects of the town, in terms industrial underdevelopment and lack of job opportunities for the youths.
“Only if we all are together as a society can we remove the defects in society. There are flaws in every society. To remove these flaws, we all should come together and reorganize society”.
He stated that ” to remove these flaws , all of you must come together and reorganise the town, irrespective of who emerges as the candidate , to reorganise the town for progress and development”.
” You have the skills to be useful to everyone. You must apply these skills to create a broad perspective of a One Indivisible Family. Unity and love among all of you is absolutely essential.
” We need unity to reform, unity for progress, unity for getting rid of all the ills in our town. A strong community is not a threat to another community. Any community that becomes strong is a boon to other communities. This is what we need to realize”.
High Chief Layinka lamented that it is disheartening to hear that the only industry in Oyo town is garri processing centres, as he tasked the aspirants to be pragmatic and let their vision and mission be development oriented.
” So sharing the strength, sharing the wisdom, sharing the wealth, sharing our hearts, this is what the aim of a community should be. Remove all the lack, all the imperfections, and all the issues that are blocking the community. Look out and be of service”.
Reacting to rumours and hate comments being peddled around by those he described as ” agents of destabilisation”, the Regent used the occasion to challenge each of the aspirants to tell the world how much he paid into the bank accounts of each member of the Oyo Mesi to secure ticket for the exalted royal stool.
Said he, ,”I think very right think Nigerians should without fear or favour condemn communication that degrades individuals and humanity through distortion, intimidation, coercion, and violence, and through the expression of intolerance and hatred.
” Words can be powerful—both in helping you achieve your speech goal and in affecting your audience in significant ways. It is essential that public speakers refrain from hate or sexist language. Hate speech, is the use of words and phrases not only to demean another person or group but also to express hatred and prejudice.”
Also speaking, the Head ( Mogaji) of Agunloye Royal Family, Pa Prince Samuel Ademola Adeladan, said the Ruling House would not tolerate undue delay and prolongation in the selection of a new candidate for the Alaafin stool, adding that all the due processes must be within this year.
Prince Adeladan enjoined all the aspirants to close ranks and allow love and unity to be their focal point.
He also charged them.to eschew recrimination and rally round whoever emerges as the candidate for the Royal stool.
In the same vein, Emeritus Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu also an aspirant stressed the imperative of love and unity towards progress and development of the town among the aspirants .
” I am father to all the aspirants and not desperate to be the next Alaafin. But I will continue to work and partner with whoever emerges for the rapid industrial growth of the town and promotion of the cherished Alaafin institution “.
In his comment , another aspirant Prince Kabir Gbadegesin noted that ‘ what should be paramount to all aspirants is the goodness of the town and its environs, rather than egoistic desires and winner take all syndrome”.
Said he, ” there must be paradigm shift on how best to transform our town and its environs for the good of all and not give utmost consideration to personal aggrandisement . The stool can only accommodate one person at a time , hence the need for mutual coexistence and unity of purpose in our collective aspirations “.
*Bode Durojaiye is the Director of Media and Publicity to the Alaafin of Oyo.