Demand knowledge of conflict resolution, peace building from aspirants, expert tasks INEC

An accredited mediator and alternative dispute resolution expert, Segun Ogunyannwo, has traced the chaos and instability in the country’s polity to the prevalence of politicians with no training or background in conflict resolution and peace building.

Ogunyannwo, however, advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and lawmakers to include in-depth knowledge of conflict resolution and peace building as one of the requirements to seek elective positions.

According to him, there is no alternative to achieving peace through dialogue even though conflict is inevitable.

Speaking in Abuja at a Distinguished Achievers’ Award ceremony organized by the West African Freelance Journalist Association (WAFJA) Ogunyanwo, who was honoured with the award of West African Personality of Repute, said the crisis in the National Assembly and other institutions of government can be solved if people who understand peaceful negotiations are elected.

“I will suggest that INEC includes in the form filled by political office holders a space to check if the aspirants have any form of training in conflict resolution because we can’t continue to elect leaders who are not versed in conflict resolution and expect to have less conflict in the system,” he said.

He added that INEC must also activate its in-house Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism to promote peace and reduce post election conflicts as well as conduct credible and conclusive elections.

Speaking on why Ogunyannwo, who runs the foremost Alternative Dispute Centre (ADC) in Abuja, was honoured with the award, the president of the West African Freelance Journalist Association, Abayomi Runsewe, said his association which was formed in Ghana is determined to change the situation whereby only governors, lawmakers and moneybags are celebrated, adding that there are too many unsung heroes in the country who deserve to be brought out and duly honoured.

Runsewe described Ogunyannwo as a masterful mediator who trains other mediators, writes books, solves problems by mediating between feuding parties, builds homes and adds value to the society.

“Ogunyanwo is a thorough nation builder, peace ambassador to virtually all reputable international organisations and a man who has done a lot for Nigeria in human capacity development. How come people like him are not in the National Assembly? Is it because he cannot kill, lie, steal or throw punches?” he asked.

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