Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) with support fromUK Department for International Development (DFID)
Not less than 150 Community Leaders made up of local government officials, traditional rulers, religious institutions, parliamentarians, community-based organizations, students, youths and women groups came together on Tuesday October 11 to sign a Social Charter with a pledge to work collectively for the peace and development of Kaduna state.
Led by the Kaduna North and South Local Government Administrators, the Community Dialogue Session held at the Council Chamber of the Kaduna North Local Government Area (LGA) was the climax of a two-week program involving stakeholders from across the state under the Peace-building and Community Dialogue Program (CDP), which is primarily aimed at addressing the challenges faced by communities as a result of the recent post-election violence in the country and to establish an inclusive community structure that will promote cooperation, collaboration, mutual support and focus on joint solution to common problems.
The CDP is a project of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) with the support of the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) which commenced in late September as a pilot program in select four LGAs in Kaduna State namely Kaduna, Zaria, Jema’a and Zagon Kataf. The Programme Orientation Meeting (POM) with over 120 representatives of Community Development Associations (CDAs) from the pilot LGAs came together to learn, listen and share common goals for enduring peace and development in the state.
An important feature of the program was the Community Action Plan (CAP) which enables each target community to collectively identify community needs, prioritize projects to solving the problems as well as mobilizing funds for project execution. It is a new paradigm shift in peace-building which focuses on harnessing communities energies into problem solving and mutual dependence.
Earlier, the training and capacity building on peace-building session witnessed the presence of the state government executives, the leadership of the State Assembly, first class traditional rulers from the across the state and other major stakeholders. The event which was declared open by the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ramalan Yero with a commitment not only to support the program but to continue the program with the facilitators as part of government’s policy to sustainable peace and development in the state. The governor promise to provide the avenue for a peaceful atmosphere that will guarantee safety of lives and property, as well as give priority to the yearnings of the people of the state.
Other dignitaries at the event included the former Governor of the state, Distinguished Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, who delivered a goodwill message. In his remarks, Senator Makarfi enlightened the audience about the root of the crises which was witnessed in Kaduna state before the election crisis. He advocated the need to be proactive and sensitive to the needs, culture and traditions of the people as these have been the greater part of agitation in the state and other parts of the country.
In his welcome address, the Director General of IPCR, Dr. Joseph H.P. Golwa expressed joy and appreciation to the government and people of Kaduna state for their warm reception of the facilitating team and the project in general. He maintained that the gesture is an indication that everyone in Kaduna state desire peace and mutual collaboration. The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Idi Farouk, MFR in his goodwill message thanked the facilitators of the program for identifying with NOA and for choosing Kaduna state as a pilot for the project. Kaduna he said remain the centre of resource for every northerners and indeed Nigerians every where. He enjoys the participants to do all within their reach to ensure the good old days where the state serve as a reference point for others in the areas of ethic and religious tolerance are brought back to the state.
Among the royal father in attendance include the Emir of Zazzau who was represented by the District Head of Doka and Bunu Zazzau, Alh. Bala Tijjani, His Royal Highness, Alh. Muhammadu Isa Muhammadu, Emir of Kafanchan and His Royal Highness, Brig Gen. Garba Abubakar Mohammed rtd, the Emir of Lere among others.
The Kaduna Community Dialogue Session is the first in the series with Zaria, Jema’a and Zagon Kataf taking their turn in the following week. Already the three LGAs have mobilized major stakeholders from each LGAs in preparation for the reception and to formally endorse the Social Charter. The Emir of Zazzau, His Royal Highness Alh. Dr. Shehu Idris hosted the Zaria Community Network in his palace under the chairmanship of Wazirin Zazzau and over 20 District Heads in attendance. The Jema’a and Zagon Kataf groups will be hosted in the coming days at the local government secretariats in the various locations.
Dr. Lanre Adebayo