Political Leaders and Peace Building
The state of insecurity characterized by socio-cultural conflicts, agitations, religious biases and ethnic disparities as well as criminal conditions spreading around the Nigerian atmosphere such as armed robbery, kidnapping, homicides, genocide etc remains critical issues that prompt restlessness among officials and stakeholders. Developments such as Boko Haram terrorist activities, Fulani Herdsmen unrest necessitate the evaluation of politics in Nigeria. It is a popular fact that political office holders are critical stakeholders in ensuring tranquillity and sustainable peace and that they are often held responsible if otherwise becomes evident in the society.
This responsibility is obvious in the Nigerian constitution as stated in Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, regarding security and welfare of the citizens as the first priority of public officeholders.
The business of government is expected to be conducted by political office holders such as the President, all elected and appointed officials in a way that will promote the security and well-being of the citizenry, any political structure without the primary orientation is already failed.
The characteristics and ideologies of political office holders and governance will determine the existence of peace or chaos. A good and transparent political structure characterized by peace-oriented and public welfare policies alongside integrity will enhance peace while a directionless and corrupt political atmosphere without gainsaying will deteriorate a peace process. Aja (2007) maintains that sustainable peace includes good politics while Ibeamu (2006) opined that peace is a political condition that enhances the process of justice. This assertion posits the causal effect of politics and peace.
Ibeamu (2006) furthered that to create peace, politics must be characterized by stability and cultural secularity. In other words, citizens must become more participatory in politics and hold strong political values such as bargaining, negotiation, and tolerance.
When there is stability in structure, citizens will effectively participate in politics and governance. Such prevalence in the situations gives ground for a good political space. Considering the assertion on structural stability, Nigeria has a state that has been considered politically underdeveloped. It is reported that in 40 years of political independence, the Nigeria political system has shown a deficiency in solving critical challenges such as people’s willingness to accept and legitimize a democratic order of rule over them, political stability, equal distribution of resources within the polity, regulation, and integration of the society, to need to increase popular participation in the political process and help citizens identify and vividly define their political identity for national goal rather than ethnical identity (NISER, 2001).
The process of peace management and peacebuilding is challenging yet a necessity. Francis (2006) asserts that it is necessary to understand peace in expansive terms i.e. covering not just the absence of direct conflicts such as violence and war, but also the inclusion of social structures and cultural ideologies that foster the development individual’s full potentials. Therefore, fostering peace becomes a multidimensional undertaking requiring different approaches in generating positive social change.