July 16th 2017 is a day members of Agbowo community would not forget in a hurry. On this day, members of Nigeria Youth 4 Peace Initiative and Nigeria Youth Network on Countering Violent Extremism organised a stakeholder’s sensitization on the prevention of violent conflict and the need to support peace education in the community. The event which held at the palace of the Baale (community head) of Agbowo had in attendance over 100 community members.
Mr. Lawal, National Coordinator, Nigeria Youth 4 Peace Initiative and also the State Focal Person of Nigeria Youth Network on Countering Violent Extremism, Oyo State, Nigeria who gave the welcome address, explained that the reasons for the gathering were to raise awareness on the roles of youth in preventing violence and promoting peace in the society and also facilitate the process of establishing peace clubs in Agbowo community.
Dr. Amusat Kolawole, a development expert from the Polytechnic Ibadan, who also doubles as the Executive Director of the Centre for Disaster Risk and Crisis Reduction (CDRCR) led the discussions on the role of youth in preventing violence. He posited that, conflict is inevitable and that lack of basic conflict management skills is leading youth to take violent actions. He therefore urged youth to learn how manage conflict and be active in promoting peace. According to him ‘Youth should always get the real information about everything before engaging in them. They should understand issues and make sure they pass the right information to others in need of it. Peer to peer education should be taken seriously; it is the duty of every young person to educate others on the need for peace’. Lastly, he urged youth not wait for government for employment opportunities again, According to him, ‘government almost has nothing to offer, youth must acquire skills, learn trades, and be productive’.
Dr Adeola Adams, the National Secretary of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP) who spoke on conflict management skills amongst youth, argued that, it is not only when we go to market and begin to price goods that we negotiate, negotiation happens in our daily communications with people around us. According to him, ‘We negotiate when we greet people; we are building peace when we maintain a healthy relationship with our fellow human being, irrespective of our differences. Good negotiation skills prevent conflict’.
A religious leader in the community, Evang. Daniel Otakoya who spoke on ‘temperament and peacebuilding’ explained temperament as an inbuilt nature that determines the behaviour of a person. How someone will react to an issue is a product of his type of temperament. According to him, ‘we may not be able to change these realities, but we can manage it to our benefit. We must find out the type of person we are and we should always know that nobody is perfect and be expecting that people will offend us and be ready to accommodate people’s differences’.
A youth leader in the community, Mr. Samson Abayomi, appreciated the conveners of the program for chosen Agbowo community for the sensitization and education. According to him, there is no better place to hold the program than Agbowo community. He urged community members to disseminate the lessons from the program.
The event came to an end with seven community members showing their interest to become foundation members of the community peace club.