Conflict transformation and permanent peace in Keana local government council of Nasarawa State, Nigeria: the roles, motives, objectives, strategies and tactics of the religious and traditional leaders
Keana Local Government Council (LGC) in the Southern Senatorial District of Nasarawa state, Nigeria, experienced a devastating inter-ethnic conflict between 2001-2002, and has since then enjoyed uninterrupted durable peace. Motivated therefore by the desire to know more about the conflict, how this durable peace was achieved and most importantly the transformative roles, strategies and tactics adopted by the religious and traditional leaders in Keana LGC in addressing the conflict and attaining this feat, this study relied on (1) conflict transformation and other theories to elaborate some key concepts, (2) and used simple qualitative methodology to collect data from the religious and traditional leaders, and to analyse it for the primary purpose of highlighting their significant responsorial contributions Mutual mistrust, political marginalization, unattended land skirmishes and brutal murder emerged as the primary causes of the conflict. With their status and roles as motivators, mobilizers and peace diplomats, and aided tactically by personal courage, fearlessness and love for the people, the religious and traditional leaders were able to strategically address the conflict with sustainable dialogue, interactive problem-solving meetings, religious rituals, traditional mores, peace education and youth mobilization. Based on these transformative contributions, this study makes these positional statements: (1) the Keana communities hold these leaders with tenacity as auspicious elements of their histories and social welfare, (2) these leaders are local non-state peace actors and epistemic communities which ideologists, state-crafters, peace researchers and practitioners ought to work with as co-actors in peace processes and social development.