Conflict is a natural phenomenon, it is as old as mankind, and conflict is a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. A conflict can be internal (within oneself) or external (between two or more individuals). Conflict as a concept can help explain many aspects of social life such as social disagreement, conflicts of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organizations. Conflicts in social settings can result to stress or tensions among stakeholders, seen as working towards certain goals. When interpersonal conflicts occur, its effect is often broader than two individuals involved, and can affect collective individual needs and relationships in more or less adverse and sometimes even humorous way.
Conflict is one of the major concerns not only in any given continent, it also affect the international community as well. Conflict is simply the absence of peace, and the successive introduction of diversify sense of humor of people within the context of a community or society. If this is the case then, what are the root causes of conflict? Let me approach this issue from an African viewpoint, especially with the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria as a case study. Conflict does not mean people engaging in riots, or situation of economic inhumanity or the expression of calculated grievances, conflict could be within a person. Regardless of the nature of conflict, whether within or without transcends our mere study of individualized conflict escalation.
Scholars, peace and security experts, and conflict management professionals have brainstormed on several recurrent and perpetuated conflicts involving the Ageing, youths and the Government. Answers to this has been quite cumbersome; the least in mind includes but not limited to the following:
. Inadequate Resources
. Environmental and economic degeneration etc.
. Communal attitudes
. Social and economic dilemmas
. Uneven distribution of scare resources
. Environmental degradation and spills
. Government’s lukewarmness in community and Ariel developments
. Lack of Social Infrastructures etc.
. Boundaries Problems
. Inter/intra communal clashes
It is true that after a young man/woman complete his/her studies, the expectation is to get a job and start well in their various careers. A government that denies the timid and all encompassing youths these adequate supports, entrepreneurial guidance and civil liberties; the outcome in most cases have always resulted to nationwide or sectarian violence, militancy and piracy. When expectations are high and strategically become impossible such as unavailable access to resources; resultant outcome could emanates to sequential riots, theft just to mention a few. Sickness can cause conflict especially from within an individual. In an instance where people get ill and cannot afford proper Medicare or inability to access available treatments within the area, internal crisis evolves and this is called “the Preliminary stage of conflict”.
A clash of interests, values, actions or directions often sparks a conflict; a conflict refers to the existence of that clash. Psychologically, conflict exists when the reduction of one motivating stimulus result to an increase in another, that requires new set of variable adjustment in needs and characteristic factors. A potential conflict situation does imply that there is already a conflict of direction, even though a clash may not yet have occurred. Conflict however depicts, in a crude and academic parlance, a natural disagreement resulting from individuals or groups that differ in attitudes, beliefs, values or needs. It is needless to note that there are varying causes of conflict, some of which are indicative and known, while others are synergic and morphological.
Some basic way to deal with conflicts, apart from its detailed analysis in our preceding chapters can be based on the following:
v Accommodation – surrender one’s own needs and wishes to accommodate the other party.
v Avoidance- avoid or postpone conflict by ignoring it, changing the subject, etc. avoidance can be useful as a temporary measure to buy time or as an expedient means of dealing with very minor, non-recurring conflicts. In more severe cases, conflict avoidance can involve severing a relationship or leaving a group.
v Collaboration – work together to find a mutually beneficial solution to conflict, this has to be built on an appropriate trust, respect or communication among participants.
v Compromise – find a middle ground in which each party is partially satisfied.
v Positive competition asserting one’s viewpoint at the potential expense of another can be useful when achieving one’s objectives outweighs one’s concern for the relationship. It is quite important that these competences need to be built among the young generation to enable them to make rational decisions.
Youth violence is a result of the high percentage of unemployment. Young people today in various facets of the Nigerian Economic and the socio-political life are normally misused by politician especially during electoral campaign period for their selfish and political gains. The best way to curb violence is to educate youths and young people in non-violence and in their rights as individuals and the need to embrace peace. They should be empowered on the importance of protecting their country against misuse by political bigwigs to gain political mileage and cause ethnic divisions.
MASSIVE UNEMPLOYMENT QUAGMIRE
Nigerians, and the youth in particular are vexed by issues of massive unemployment and underemployment across the Niger Delta. It is not that they are ignorant of it nor of its attendant socio-economic dehumanization of people across the nation but to inform the present government that the time has come to make it a national experience of the past and no more of the present. Statistics abound in the records of the World Bank, Transparency International and other Monitoring International Organizations of the alarming rate of unemployment in the country. There is no need to go into intellectual and statistical exercise in this discussion, but to put this matter raw as there are numerous victims of this quagmire in the area, whom I have personally interviews before anything else. Over 60% of Niger Delta active and highly productive populations are out of employment.
Since 1982 there has been overt embargo on Federal and State government employment. Think of the army of youths graduating from secondary and tertiary institutions that are shut out of jobs bearing in mind that the low level and degradable state of industrialization naturally makes Government the highest employer of labour. Even children born in 1983 up to 1990s are now men and women enlisted involuntarily into the army of the unemployed and socio-economically dehumanized of Nigeria. As citizens of this great nation, an average Nigerian consciousness has been thwarted, and has now become citizens of an otherwise resource rich country. This is the irony of Nigerians, yet we stifle like the poorest nations in Africa
The private sector was a viable employer of labour until the early 1980s when Nigeria’s huge trade deficit and international debt burdens literally shut off importation of vital raw materials for production. Gradually many otherwise buoyant companies either folded up or staggered on far below their productive capacity. The inevitable consequence of this was mass retrenchment of workers and closed doors to fresh employments. Again we dare say that the indigenization Decree as patriotic as it was to a large extent turned over foreign owned businesses to Nigerians but failed to consider our experience and technical abilities to profitably run these businesses. These businesses went under throwing their employees into the labour market. In my sustainable development proposal, I suggested that the youths of Niger Delta should be engaged through skill acquisition institut
ions and programmes, which should instill in the youth the necessary technical capacities and manpower.
Unemployment in the cities has mutually, inclusive of its relationship with the macro economic lives of the rural population where statistics which have shown that majority of Nigerians reside in abject poverty and economic sagacity. Our rural population still produces at subsistence level and depends heavily on financial repatriations from kinsmen and women in the cities to finance education, health care and other financially intensive projects.
To this end, unemployment in the government and the industrial sectors has had multiplier effect on our huge rural population, creating a sour scenario of an idle but virile economic population. Thanks to Nigerians in the European and American Diasporas who through thick and thin repatriate home millions of Pounds and Dollars annually to keep families alive. The consequences of massive unemployment in Nigeria are to say the least ominous.