----------You think solutions to the conflicts and crises ravaging Northern Nigeria could be not be found from within our shores or sub region but the United States? ----------Sure. We are merely going to interface with scholars and nationalities of countries with experience in rigmaroles of pluralist existence to appropriately analyse, understand and afterwards advocate strategic policy inputs and best practice approach for practical interventions. Like you frequently gallivant all across the globe retrieving stolen artifacts, updating UNESCO’s Nigerian heritage sites and generating ideas about how to raise the standards of our museums to world class quality. The decision by Dr. Bashir Kurfi, Executive Director of the Network for Justice, a human rights based civil society organization to sponsor me along with six others to a conference on Northern Nigerian conflicts in the United States precipitated discussions above between me and Yusuf Abdallah, a one- time journalist colleague at The Triumph stables, now Director General at National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). Yusuf Abdallah obviously does not keep tally on the Network for Justice. He would have known that it was formed by individuals and groups sharing the common belief that political instability, which has been the bane of Nigeria since independence, is directly related to the level of oppression and injustice in the society. Flagrant disregard and violation of the rights and aspirations of the citizenry made these like-minded people and organizations to become committed to reversing this unfortunate trend. Since 1994, they have constituted this formidable Network that has assiduously been on the vanguard for entrenching democracy, good governance and social justice. Its track record of mediating in raging conflicts and human rights abuses in Northern Nigeria, the ethnic cleansing pograms in Plateau state and Southern Kaduna as well as providing aid to disaffected individuals shortchanged by state institutions and various forms of assistance to the displaced victims of 2011 post election violence of Southern Kaduna proclaims its milestones loud and clear.
To Dr. Kurfi therefore, participation at the conference on Conflict Resolution and Reforms in Northern Nigeria arranged by the National Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru and the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Arlington Virginia from 16-19 October 2012 is a call to duty. Moreso as the conference also would coincide with the launch of a monograph written by Professor John Paden entitled “Post Election Conflict Management in Nigeria: The Challenges of National Unity”. It is an opportunity that will avail Network for Justice with ideas to shape conversations about how Nigeria can respond to its current crises and tensions in ways that would strengthen national unity and possibly meet the competing interests of its diverse citizenry, the sub region as well as the world at large. This road report would not bother with the razzmatazz of the trip but concentrate instead on the intellectual leverages gleaned therefrom. I am sworn to Chaltenham rules, a policy of non attribution and would therefore not be at liberty to accredited statements made to any particular individual. Wednesday 17/10/2012By 5.30 p.m., launch ceremonies of the monograph “Post Election Conflict Management in Nigeria: The Challenges of National Unity” by John Paden were well underway at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S- CAR) George Mason University (GMU) Arlington Virginia. Inside the Founders hall, several distinguished American scholars with abiding interest on Nigerian affairs were seated. They include Professors John Paden himself, Andrea Bartoli, Peter Lewis, Darren Kew, Sarah Cobbs, Aaron Sayne, Ambassador John Campbell and host of others including two Nigerian post graduate students at the...