Beyond the Legalistic and Mechanical Approaches to Conflict Management in Nigeria.

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue VI, June 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Beyond the Legalistic and Mechanical Approaches to Conflict Management in Nigeria

Ko, Viashima David
Department of Philosophy/University of Ibadan, Nigeria

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Multiethnic and religious crises are exposing Nigeria to its greatest existential problem of all time. Calls for separation and self-determination are vociferous among Nigeria’s ethnic, religious, and socio-cultural groups. While Nigeria’s government and well-meaning organizations are engaging the problem, ongoing conversations on the matter focus on the potentials of legalistic and mechanical approaches to conflict management. Ethnic and religious conflicts in Nigeria are resisting these formulations and sustaining the path of destruction, pulverizing economic, social, human, and material resources.
This paper supplements existing perspectives on conflict management in Nigeria with an ontological approach. It defends the need to explore the ego, the self, the I in managing conflicts in Nigeria. With categories and frameworks mined from existentialists philosophers, the paper advocates the development of systematic processes of reorientation based on the existentialist values of intersubjectivity, tolerance, dialogue, understanding, care, and solidarity as a tool against the religious and ethnic crisis in the country.

Keywords: Existentialism, ethnicity, ethnoreligious conflict, intersubjectivity, care.

I. INTRODUCTION

Nigeria is laced with highly insidious and obstinate conflicts. A critical focus on these lethal schisms suggests religious differences and ethnic commitments as leading causal factors. In the north, south, east, and western regions of the country, ethnoreligious conflicts obscure peace, challenge development prospects, and pulverize human and material resources (Onah, Diara & Uroko, 2019: 61).
Several dynamics shape ethnoreligious conflicts and peace prospects among Nigerian ethnicities and religious groups. First, ethnic and religious particularities are the most socially and politically vibrant forms of identity in Nigeria. Second, there seems to be a general propensity among Nigerians to distribute privileges and develop relationships based on religious and ethnic compatibilities. Third, Nigerian ethnicities and religious groups are trapped in severe asymmetrical power struggles, such that these groups elect their interests in ways that undermine the interests of others, and apply these interests to legislate religious and social correctness. While these dynamics are sometimes less disruptive, they can act as springboards for material, social and human destruction when applied to perpetually discriminate, extract privileges, usurp, and dominate the interest of others in plural or religiously diverse society (Oyeshile, 2005:10).