Thursday, August 18, 2011


Looking at the culture of peace from a broader perspective, I personally treasure the ideals of peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect between diverse cultures with due respect for Justice, tolerance and compassion.
Very essential to cultivating a culture of peace is the existence of a society in which every member feels a sense of belonging and is assured of transparency and justice in the administration of the society’s affairs.

As a firm believer in the necessity for justice and fairplay in the establishment and promotion of a culture of peace, I am involved in various non-violent activist efforts focused on liberating my society from many manifestations of structural violence.

For example, at the local level, my NGO (; is dedicated to an anticorruption crusade, which offers anticorruption orientation as a key component of its tuition-free skills acquisition training programmes. We actively organize campaigns and public lectures in our locality to sensitise youths about the ills of corruption especially as found in public institutions. Participants are enlightened on the options available to them when faced with corrupt officials or systems.

On a personal level, I am in a continuous state of reflecting on my thoughts, words and actions with a view to reducing and possibly eliminating perceived negative manifestations that could lead to conflicts in my relations both at the private levels and in my public/official interactions with other people. I have come to the realization that most interpersonal conflicts occur due to the refusal or inability of the parties involved to maintain a good level of interpersonal peace and cultivate the capability of being able to see things from the perspectives other people. Instead of seeing your action as being wrong, it might help to try seeing why you decided to act that way.

My immediate community, being multicultural in composition is prone to eruption of physical violence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups that cohabit together, this is mostly due to the existence of various forms of structural violence in the society and the hard-line and uncompromising stance mostly taken by each side on issues.

In my role as a teacher, I always ensure that all my students learn to see each other as co-traveller in the pursuits of skills and knowledge without prejudices on account of race, sex or religious beliefs. Misconceptions about cultures and religious beliefs are usually brought up for discussion in my classes, critically examined and clarifications found to help the learners understand about the beliefs, values and cultures of others different from themselves. This usually helps in making them cultivate a spirit of mutual respect and love among them

At the community level, I am actively involved in peace building efforts among the diverse groups we have. Being of multicultural origins myself, I am able to act as a bridge between the people, helping clearing false myths, misconceptions and outright falsehoods that could otherwise lead to conflicts.

The May 2011 post-election riots here in Kano, led to the loss of many lives and properties worth millions of naira (including our main training centre). Though the violence erupted as a result of alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Presidential elections, deeper reflection will reveal deep-rooted discontent among youths impoverished by years of structural violence and mistrust among the diverse groups living together. Another example is the UK riots of some weeks past, it originally started out as a protest against the Police shooting of a youth, but the subsequent violence across the UK shows that there is are underlying causes that fed the culture of violence in the looters and rioters.

Here in my local community, after the May riots, we have set up a local peace committee made up of youths and youth leaders, the membership of this committee cuts across all religious faith and tribal affiliations. The committee has started holding discussion sessions at which various issues relating to our mutual existence are tabled and looked at from different angles.

As the Secretary of this committee, I am actively involved in setting the agenda for the discussion sessions and in the three months of its formation; we have been able to build a body of documents, which outline different views and perceptions about community. These sessions have also helped us achieve mutually agreeable stances on many issues that formerly divided us.

Though, many issues still divide us, our committee is slowly making having a positive effect on communal relations. In fact, we have successfully mediated in some petty misunderstandings between some groups, who though professing the same religious faiths, had differing perspectives on some issues.

At the national level, my involvement is basically two-fold – Non-violent struggle against injustice and national peace building.

A Sustainable culture of peace and thereof meaningful development cannot be attained in any society without equity and justice being entrenched. Likewise, the concept of a culture of peace will be sheer fallacy to an oppressed person. This fuels my zeal for networking with many other like-minded individuals to fight injustice in all forms through online protests, onsite civil protests and campaigns, publications etc.

Nigeria, being a multicultural society, suffers from the effects of intolerance caused by ignorance and misconceptions among the diverse religious and ethnic groups. This lack of proper understanding of various cultures of other citizens has led to a lot of misplaced antagonism and hatred among the various ethnic groups. The blame for most of these mutual misconceptions lies at the doors of the societal leaders – political, tribal and religious. Many of them fan the embers of distrust among the populace, not with any realistic justification, but simply to protect their various personal interests which they think will be at risk if mutual understanding exists among the various groups.

The two real classes in my society from my reflection are the oppressed and the oppressors! But apart from simply impoverishing the oppressed economically, the oppressed go further to feed them with various fictitious propaganda that is aimed at deflecting their attention from the oppressors, and instead guides them to see people from other tribes/religious faiths as enemies. We now have a situation in which the oppressors from different tribes and religious faiths are able to sit together to scheme on how to maintain and further their political and economic domination, while subtly redirecting the attention of the oppressed to look at fellow oppressed citizens from other tribes/religions as enemies.

I am presently actively involved in an online/onsite initiative that has brought together people from different walks of life to discuss issues of national interest.
It all started from Facebook interactions during the last national elections. Though we all represent different political inclinations, membership of the initiative was drawn from people who showed a high level of maturity and showed they were able to listen to views of others even when it conflicts with theirs. From the online sessions, we have moved ahead to holding quarterly national meetings where we all meet and share hours of fruitful discourse based on mutual respect and understanding among members from all over the country. Though the discussions (both online and onsite) get heated up sometimes, but the fact that we all committed to decently expressing our views and listening to that of others keeps us going. In fact, most times, after heated exchanges, we are able to get a point of reaching understanding about the perception of other members who share views different from ours; and many misconceptions have been cleared during these discussions.

At the global level, my involvement in e-activism (;; has really afforded me an opportunity to support and initiate e-petitions on peace and social justice issues.
My participation in Global Crisis Mapping efforts (;;;; etc) has offered me an opportunity to join other volunteers from all over the globe in crisis mapping efforts during disasters and crisis like the Japan earthquake and Libyan Crisis Map deployment.
My various online interactions through social media and professional organizations like;; and many others has broadened my outlook to other people and I feel I have also been able to contributed to making other people better understand and appreciate some values I hold dear.

On the whole, creating, cultivating and nourishing a culture of peace starts with the self, achieving a proper level of intra-personal peace makes us better suited and able to act as agents and promoters of peace in all our activities, and we can thereby contribute our quota to effecting a positive transformation in our world.


  1. Ibrahim,

    I agree that peace must begin with oneself. Before we can expect change to occur in our communities and in the world we must first take care of our own anger. If we are angry in our personal life, we will only bring this anger to other situations.

    You are involved in many organizations so I hope that you are not spreading yourself too thin. Good luck with all of them. They all sound extremely worthwhile.


  2. Thanks for your comments Gwen, i sometimes also think i am spreading too thin, but on a closer look, you'd see that it is all in the context of a local teacher trying to be part of using ICT to contribute to a better world!

  3. Ibrahim,

    You are to be commended for all that you are attempting to do. In my own experience I tended to try to do too much. We all have different thresholds of energy and yours may be very high. Keep up the good work!


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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.