“Peace in Nigeria: How to Build It and America’s Role” will be the issue civil society and policy leaders from Nigeria will be cracking along with their counterpart from the United States of America, come September 28th, 2017 in Washington DC. At the spectacle being put together by the US Institute of Peace, the discussants would be looking at what the Institute calls concrete steps Nigeria and the United States could take to stabilize Africa’s demographic and economic giant. They would particularly be exploring options other than predominating over Boko Haram militarily as well as inclusive policies that can prevent violent conflict.
Among the discussants as listed by the announcement on the Institute’s site are Nancy Lindborg, the President of the U.S. Institute of Peace; Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Senior Advisor at the Institute; His Eminence Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) and a member of the Nigeria Senior Working Group; Ambassador Princeton Lyman; Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace; General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd), former Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria and former Commander of the combined United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, Sudan as well as member, Nigeria Senior Working Group; Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim, Senior Fellow, Center for Democracy and Development -West Africa and member, Nigeria Senior Working Group; Ambassador Fatima Balla, former Nigerian Diplomat, civil servant and politician as well as member, Nigeria Senior Working Group; Yunusa Zakari Yau, Executive Director, Center for Information Technology and Development, Kano, Nigeria.
Others are Dr. Pauline Baker, President Emeritus of the Fund for Peace and Senior Advisor, Creative Associates International; Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman, Nigeria, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and member, Nigeria Senior Working Group; Idayat Hassan, Director, Center for Democracy and Development – West Africa and Dr. Usman Bugaje, founding Chairman of The Network for Justice and convener of the Arewa Research and Development Initiative as well as member, Nigeria Senior Working Group who would, however, be representing the Sultan of Sokoto in the discussion. It is understood that there might be other members of the panel in Dr Chris Kwaja, the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola Peace scholar and Professor Ibrahim Gambari of the Abuja based Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development.
Describing President Buhari’s election in 2015 as an advance for democracy, that being the very first peaceful transition of power to an opposition candidate in Nigeria, the USIP said the US has already been supportive of the Buhari government’s campaign to push back Boko Haram, connecting this to how vital a peaceful Nigeria is to long-term U.S. interests, reduction in the world’s refugee crisis and to the stability of Niger, Chad, Cameroon and other nations of the Sahel. “In advancing a broad strategy for building peace, the September 28 conference will build on months of USIP-coordinated dialogues among the governors of Nigeria’s northern states and civic leaders, including diplomats, retired civil servants, and scholars”, the Institute said.