Conflict Resolution In Nigeria: The Prospect And Challenges For Peace (A Case Study Of Ife And Modakeke Crisis, Osun State)

Project and Seminar Material Under Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution In Nigeria: The Prospect And Challenges For Peace (A Case Study Of Ife And Modakeke Crisis, Osun State)


Abstract


The conflict between the Ife and Modakeke appears to be a protracted and seemingly intractable intra-ethnic conflict that has continued to pit two groups of the same ethnic background against one another. This study, therefore examined the conflict resolution in Nigeria: the prospect and challenges for peace. The study found that the major causes of the conflict between Ife and Modakeke group include land issues, Ife-East Local Government, debate over Modakeke’s sovereignty, boundary disagreement etc. This study discovered that one of the shortcomings of the past methods of managing the Ife-Modakeke conflict is inability of bringing succour to the minds of those who records losses during the war. To effectively carry out this research, data was collected in form of questionnaire from respondents who are people of Ife and Modakeke. (150) one hundred and fifty questionnaire were administered, (137) one hundred and thirty seven copies were returned and (135) one hundred and thirty five copies are used. After critical analysis of the data collected, findings revealed that conflict is indeed an inevitable aspect of human interaction. There is the need to learn to manage them and deal with them in a way that prevents escalation and destruction, and to arrive at new, innovative, and creative ideas to resolve them.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Nigeria is a large multi-ethnic country where ethnic cleavages remain a critical problem and ethnic violence has erupted periodically. Among the prominent conflicts in Nigeria are: Ife-Modakeke Crisis in Osun State; Yoruba-Hausa Clashes in Shagamu, Ogun State; Eleme-Okrika Conflict in Rivers State; Zango-Kataf in Kaduna State; Tiv-Jukun in Wukari, Taraba State; Ogoni-Adoni in Rivers State; Chamba-Kuteb in Taraba State; Itsekiri-Ijaw/Urhobo in Delta State; Aguleri-Umuleri in Anambra State; Ijaw-Ilaje conflict in Ondo State; Basa-Egbura in Nassarawa State; Hausa/Fulani-Sawaya in Bauchi, among others. These conflicts have provided a pattern that makes scholars to attribute their causes to greed, power and wealth distribution (ILE, O. J, 2014). The impacts of these crises have led to loss of lives, displacement of people, destruction of properties, etc. Thus, the greatest challenge facing the process of conflict resolution in Nigeria is the issue of maintaining balance among the conflicting parties by the third party (preferably the Nigerian Government). This balance, however, can only be met if the roots of the conflict(s) are traced and treated fairly. Going by ILE O. J (2014) analysis, the lessons from the Ife-Modakeke crisis makes a good study because of its strategic importance in Yoruba history; and again, its prospect for conflict resolution in Nigeria.

Conflict resolution in Nigeria is multifaceted in that it refers to a process aimed at resolving ethnic conflicts through constructive means. In most cases, Panels/Committees set up to investigate communal clashes often identify the underlying causes of the conflict and address them through solutions that are mutually satisfactory, self-perpetuating, and sustaining. While it is true that not all conflicts lend themselves to conflict resolution techniques, the Ife-Modakeke crisis makes an exception. In the words of A. R. Asiyanbola (2007), the Ife-Modakeke crisis remains the oldest intra-ethnic conflict in Nigeria which makes the process of peace making a realistic one.

The Ife and Modakeke are both yoruba of Osun State in southwestern Nigeria. According to oral tradition, both are descendants of Oduduwa, the perceived progenitor of the Yoruba people.The socio-cultural and political systems of the two communities are essentially identical and their geographical distribution largely overlaps. As related as Ife and Modakeke are, however, both have engaged in protracted conflict for over a century. The Modakeke people are generally considered strangers, tenants, and migrants in Ife. On the other hand, the Ifes’ regard themselves as the ‘landlord’ over the people of Modakeke (COOKEY S. J, 2010).

Historical accounts suggest that the people of Modakeke migrated and settled in Ile-Ife in the aftermath of the collapse of the Old Oyo Empire in the nineteenth century, causing a refugee crisis to the south and resulting in the occupation of their contemporary location. Two distinct categories of people were thus created: the original settlers (landlords) and the migrants, tenants, farmhands, and a resettled group considered as refugees (Modakeke). These categorizations form the remote causes of the conflicts between the two groups.


1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Conflict resolution in Nigeria is still in its developmental stage. The Ife-Modakeke Crisis in Osun State; Yoruba-Hausa Clashes in Shagamu, Ogun State; Eleme-Okrika Conflict in Rivers State; Zango-Kataf in Kaduna State; Tiv-Jukun in Wukari, Taraba State; Ogoni-Adoni in Rivers State; among others all follow the same pattern of escalation. While the Ife-Modakeke crisis remains the oldest of these conflicts, there is a need to develop an adaptive conflict resolution model that would arrest the situation before escalation. Using Ife-Modakeke as a case study, the causes, course and effects of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria could be understood and would have a long term implication for peace process in Nigeria.

It is recognized that the causes of the conflicts between Ifes and Modakekes are many and varied. Historians generally trace the crisis to pre-colonial Nigeria especially during the Yoruba internecine wars of the nineteenth century.

Efforts of the Nigerian government (both the Federal and the State Governments) in resolving these crises and the impact of the resolutions taken have had on the peoples of Ife and Modakeke is worth studying.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective is to examine conflict resolution in Nigeria: the prospect and challenges for peace. The specific objectives are examine as stated below:

  1. To provide a historical background on conflict resolution in Nigerian using Ife-Modakeke crisis as a case study;
  2. To examine the effect of conflict between Ife and Modakeke.
  3. To determine the various factors responsible for the continuous mayhem between Ife and Modakeke despite the intervention of the Nigerian Government.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will provide answers for the following questions:

  1. To what extent could past violence crisis recollected and passed on to the next generation?
  2. To what extent has crisis affected Ife – Modakeke development?
  3. Is there inter-personal relationship among the people of the two communities after the crisis?
  4. What are the prospects emanating from mitigating the challenges of Ife – Modakeke crisis?
  5. How to identity the conflict resolution adopted in Ife-Modakeke crisis?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses would be tested:

Hypothesis 1:
  • H0: Ethnic attachment does not have any significant effect on inter-personal relationships among the people of the two communities.
  • H1: Ethnic attachment do have a significant effect on inter-personal relationships among the people of the two communities.
Hypothesis 2
  • H0: Ethnic crisis could not likely affect human existence and business activities in Osun metropolis.
  • H1: Ethnic crisis could likely affect human existence and business activities in Osun metropolis.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is of practical importance to the indigenes of both Ife and Modakeke who are the main actors in the crisis. This study will expose their historical origin of these two communities which should unite them rather than separate them. It will also help both the indigenes of the two communities to understand the history, traditions, customs, beliefs and taboos of the other group in other to accommodate each other.

This study is useful to scholars’ especially historians, political scientists, peace educators and conflict resolution experts.

Finally, this study is of strategic importance to the Nigerian government especially in the area of conflict resolution. It will help policy makers to detect early conflict, manage early escalation of conflict and ensure peaceful relations among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study covers conflict resolution in Nigeria: the prospect and challenges for peace using Ife-Modakeke crisis as case study. It also focuses on the various resolutions and peace processes initiated by the Nigerian government, the various community stakeholders, and the peoples of Ife and Modakeke in resolving the crisis.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

Research like this are primarily funded by researcher and this pose a constraint in carrying out the research work due to the fact that money would be used to type materials, print and transport. The researcher encounters some limitations in getting people to respond in due time. The questionnaire has to be adequately interpreted, translated to some people who have challenges reading and writing with the aim of having a large scope of responds.


1.9 Definition of Terms

This section will help to explain the meaning of those words or phrases used in the research work without which this research study would have been meaningless to those who are not familiar with them.

Ethnicity

This refers to a social specific formation that rests upon cultural special practices and a unique set of symbols and cosmology. A belief to common origins and broadly agreed common history provide an hierarchies, and confirms social identities of both insiders and outsiders.

National Stability

This is defined as the common or characteristics of a whole nation in a state of being stable or peacefully united.

Conflict

This is an attempt to outwit or completely subdue other individuals or groups by means that may separate from informative order, industry violence.

Economy

An economy or economic system consists of the production, distribution or trade, and consumption of limited goods and services by different agents in a given geographical location.

National Development

It is the ability of a country or countries to improve the social welfare of the people e.g. by providing social amenities like quality education, potable water, transportation infrastructure, medical care, etc.

Crisis

Any form of behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. An unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty.

Violence

Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development, or deprivation.

Insecurity

It is the presence of anti-social activities such as armed robbery, political thuggery, house breaking, gangsterismetc,


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This research presents a preliminary report on conflict resolution in Nigeria: the prospect and challenges for peace: the case of Ife -Modakeke Crisis. Historical accounts have it that Ifes and Modakekes are sons anddaughters of the same parents. As yorubas, their ancestry is traced to Oduduwa the progenitor of yoruba race nevertheless, Ifeand Modakeke people sees themselves as a different social group. The major factorsthat have helped in the construction of different social identity are their historicalbackground and yoruba language pronunciation.

Observation from the literatureshows that given the circumstance that led to the birth of Modakeke, and despite thefact that Ile-Ife city has the historic image asthe aboriginal home of the yoruba people,the status of Modakeke and that of its peoplehas always been a source of dispute andconflict due to issues relating to boundary or indigene/nonindigeneand by extension the problem ofcitizenship issue.

At the starting of the research study, background to the main study was carried out with certain terms that will help the reader to understand conflict resolution in Nigeria: the prospect and challenges for peace.

The second chapter introduced the contact theory and the frustration-aggression theory and a lot of things were uncovered. To progress further, the literature review looked into the concept of conflict, historical background of the people of Ife and Modakeke, attempted solutions to curb the crisis, the alternative instrument used, how it was finally resolvedand many more.

Being a research study needed to be worked on through the testing of hypotheses, however, in chapter three, the Data collection method was through the primary and secondary source of data collection. Questionnaires were used, (150) one hundred and fifty copies were administered, (137) one hundred and thirty seven copies were returned and (135) one hundred and thirty five copies are used.

The data collected was presented and the hypothesis was tested using the Chi-Square through SPSS method.


5.2 Conclusion

This study examined the conflict resolution in Nigeria: the prospect and challenges for peace among residents of Ife and Modakeke communities, Osun State, Nigeria. In conclusion, ethnic and religious conflicts portend great danger to human existence and business activities to residents of Osun metropolis and Nigeria in general.

Ethnic and religious conflicts expose human beings and the environment to different degree of danger, which hampers development. We can only progress and have meaningful development under the atmosphere of tranquillity, peace, and harmony. A corollary to the above is that it portrays Nigeria in a very bad light internationally. It depicts our leaders, at all levels and in different facets of life as weak, naïve, selfish and selfcentred.

In an environment of strong, dedicated, and selfless leadership, the diversity and complexity of the Nigerian society would be duly harnessed and channeled into holistic national development.


5.3 Recommendations

From the findings of this study and the conclusion drawn from the findings, the following recommendations have been put forward:

  1. National Orientation Agency (NOA), should be strengthened and empowered to mobilize and create consistent national awareness on the ills of crisis, be it religious, ethnic, or communal crisis. The people should be made to understand that at the end of every crisis, it is the people and the nation that loses. In addition, it is desirable to have an orientation programme on the damaging effects of violent uprisings.Such an orientation programme should aim at informing the people that no ethnic, religion, or community is superior to the other.
  2. Government should address the problem of youth unemployment, through empowerment programmesand creation of job.
  3. Hence, there should be an educational setting in which children from Ife and Modakeke communities would attend school together. This would ensure contact of not only the pupils at school but also the parents in the management of school.

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