Is Peace Possible In West African Countries?

Is peace possible in West African countries? Peace is what society needs to live without fear...

Peace is the total freedom from disturbance and violence, and it occurs when people can resolve disputes without resorting to violence and work collectively to develop the quality of life and property. It is regarded as the total absence of war, a commitment not to injure or threaten, but to dwell with a lasting agreement. It is pivotal, but lasting peace would only be achieved through conscious and deliberate efforts by all, hence the need for experts in dispute resolution would be required.

A calm state of justice and a balance or equality of power in both internal and external affairs are ascribed as peace. The state of living without fraternities premeditated to usurp power by killing, demolishing, terminating lives secretly and openly, bombing, kidnapping, and other heinous acts. The question is, can a state exist without conflict? Is it possible for West African countries to settle without indulging in any of the odd practices? What actually can cause peace in West Africa? All these are questions begging for answers in West African settings.

The difficulty of living without dispute in West Africa cannot be inserted into documents. The ability to dwell in a region and adapt without conflict can only reign in a clime that understands the language of peace and conflict. Hence, the presence of peace is more important than all justice. West Africa is a region of any forms of armed conflict like extreme crime, terrorism, banditry, piracy, election crises, tribal war, and social inequality war among other crude conflicts. Due to the unceasing rate of acrimony in West Africa, measures have been provided to ameliorate these challenges, but they proliferate the more.

Due to this, most of the Organizations in Africa regulating peace are regarded as inactive forums. For example, Ecowas and other civil society organizations are surrounded by numerous challenges in suppressing threats but are frustrated with the concerted efforts to gain peace. If there is a region where peace resides, peace is possible in West Africa. The reason for insecurity is mainly caused by bad governance in West Africa which contributes a lot from the counterparts to connive against people in government. Most leaders are ruling based on a sentimental mentality by sidelining others who are supposed to benefit.

Also, in most West African countries, ethnic/regional animosities affect majorly. In Nigeria, the three main ethnic groups, the Hausa/Fulani, the Yoruba, and the Igbo, are intensely struggling for prominent positions to govern the country. Approximately 15,700 people have been slaughtered in inter-communal, political, and sectarian violence after the military regime. Precisely in Kaduna State, more than 2,000 people were killed in sectarian clashes in 2000 caused by Christian protests against the proposed introduction of Sharia law in Kaduna state. Similarly, in Plateaus State, Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 3,800 deaths in inter-communal and sectarian clashes since 2001.

Just recently, a killing occurred at St Francis Catholic church in Owo Ondo state where unknown gunmen invaded a church and killed people. Discrimination in most of the West African Countries against members of ethnic groups classified as "non-indigenes" have deteriorated the growth of West Africa. The discriminatory policies have been a major challenge the West African States are facing.

If West Africans can wash their dirty away in the river of tribalism, security can be attained. Almost all the West African countries are affected due to tribalistic approaches to governance in issues of allocation, office, and disbursement of funds. The love of tribe is like a cankerworm in West Africa, and there is no way bias, and partiality will not play. It is a militating factor against the growth of the region which breeds other tribes to act contrary. Côte d’Ivoire has also suffered problems of national unity, the Gambia is not excluded, Nigeria is still struggling from this, and Ghana has been suffering from intra-inter ethnic conflict and others. Considering most of the African States, this negative effect had displayed in one way or the other.

Therefore, unity is a dominant key to the creation of peaceful coexistence among tribes in West Africa. Leaders and servants are not united, they speak various tongues, and their interpretations differ too, which cannot create peaceful relationships among each other. Hence, strenuous efforts which have been made to preserve unity in these countries serve as shaky unity. Peace is ascertainable if standards are provided for the people to learn precepts of governance so that whenever they rule, the application of such precepts would facilitate the governance system. An institution to guide without sentiment, adhere to laid down principles, observe the national code, and engender ideas among the inhabitants will lessen the threat and unsecured habits in West Africa.

Politically, West African countries can be peaceful and stable if political leaders can involve their opponents. Politicians can resolve disputes if applied with deep philosophical political understanding purposely to create peace and sustainability. Most West African Countries adopt a two-party system and a multi-party system which is an avenue to interact with other opponents after the election or before the election. African leaders are like cat and rat in the political realm, which attributes to unrest in Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, etc. Therefore, peace is possible in West Africa if leaders can meet their opponents with Nation-building consciousness to foster the commonwealth of the country and involve the opposing parties to participate in government.

However, isolating the opposing parties' insignias to premeditate against the country. If most of the leaders are involved in the government; bombing, kidnapping, banditry, massacre, and other acts would be lessened in West Africa. In addition, a state can not be peaceful without engaging the youths and the women. Most West African countries are not involving the youths as they are generally tagged as rioters and thugs. It has shown that most of the activities are caused by the youths who are hired by political opponents to operate or act personally due to unemployment. African youths are indulging in terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, assassin, and mostly hired. So, if the government can provide adequate jobs, the rate of hard drugs and heinous crimes will be reduced.

Hence, peace is possible in West Africa if the foundation is solid by observing morals and laid down rules. Most of the persons endangering society do not have consciousness of the effects of their atrocities. People that were brought up in crude patterns will always exhibit such without considering others. In Nigeria, most criminals were not enlightened about the repercussion of dangerous activities they are indulging in. Therefore, building up a child is a method of raising a peaceful and stable Nation.

In election discourse relating to peace, peace is possible in West Africa. However, it has been recorded that West African countries' elections are always violent. Throughout 1965, the Nigerian political system was ravaged by the tensions and strains that had been developing through years of political conflict. West African countries are doubting the policies of the election, violating the transparency of electoral authority by involving electoral fraud, and irregularities, and breaking the laws concerning free and fair elections. Only a few elections in West Africa are recorded as free and fair but none has been recorded without conflict.

For example, Côte d’Ivoire 2010 election violence so far was bloody and for many brought back painful memories of the 2010 civil war when Lauren Gbagbo refused to step down after losing the election which caused conflict. In Nigeria, election periods are like war intervals where soldiers always prepare to battle against each other to determine who will clinch the war by factions' persistent attacks in the North, West, South, and East. All these aforementioned plights in all the West African countries such as; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte D'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo are prevailing.

The writer concludes with the answer to the question; that peace is possible in West Africa if there is good governance to secure, provide job opportunities to the youths and unite the people in a common goal. Peace is possible in West Africa if there is no segregation among the tribes in West African countries. Peace is possible if the opposing parties are involved in governance, and peace is ascertainable if institutions of moral standards to guide the future generation are established. War would be suppressed by peace because peace is fundamental to bringing people together thereby creating firm growth in West Africa. Peace will build West Africa together and mold the states to progress. It will widen the socioeconomic of a country which is a major benefit for a developing state. The plans of a country can be attained if there is genuine peace, for peace is essential in man's journey.

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