As we stated earlier, methods of conflict resolution vary according to the nature of conflict, the context of conflict, history of conflict and the culture within which it takes place. Therefore different techniques could be employed in resolving conflict in order to achieve peace.
Negotiation is an act in which two or more participants attempt to reach a joint decision on matter of common concern in a situation where they are in actual or potential disagreement or conflicts. Best (2005) defined negotiation as the process whereby the parties at conflict seek to settle or resolve their conflict. According to miller (2003), negotiation involves communication usually governed by pre-established procedures between representatives of parties in a conflict or dispute.
Negotiation may use a variety of approaches. One is power negotiation which involves a negotiator’s understanding and strategic use of various sources of power to achieve a negotiator’s bargaining goals. The other is interest-based negotiation. In this process, attempts are made to reach a solution that meets the interest of all parties.
An assumption of interest-based negotiation is that a variety of interests or motivations may underlie parties’ positions. The goal of the interest-based approach is to satisfy those interests rather than bargain over positions. This style of negotiation is also called problem-solving negotiation, all-gain negotiation or value-creating negotiation. An approach to negotiation is the game theory, including tit-for-tat approaches which use strategic combination of cooperative aggression.
As Best noted, negotiation in a direct process of dialogue and discussion taking place between at least two parties who are faced with a conflict situation or a dispute. Both parties come to the realization that they have a problem and both are aware that by talking to each other, they can find a solution to the problem. Negotiation brings a lot of benefits because in the process the interest of both parties must have been taken care of.
Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party helps disputants resolve a dispute or plan a transaction, but does not have the power to impose a solution.
There are a variety of processes mediators can use to achieve results. These include interest-based approaches and rights-based approaches. Some mediators are facilitative, providing only process assistance for negotiations and using interest-based approaches.
Facilitative interest-based mediation, according to Best (2003), is taught widely in North America for the purposes of community, family and commercial mediation and tends to foster the avoidance of mediator recommendations and suggestions in order to preserve mediator neutrality, and to encourage party control of outcomes. Mediation is the voluntary, informal, non-binding process undertaken by an external party that fosters the settlement of differences or demands between invested parties.
Other mediators, including many labour mediators and commercial mediators, may use an evaluative style, providing suggestions, recommendations. Evaluative right-based mediation processes are similar to adjudicative processes, such as non-binding arbitration. Other mediators may be activist, intervening to ensure all parties are represented and that power balance is addressed. But activist mediators do not necessarily make specific recommendations.
William (2003) wrote that mediators often lack awareness of how their own cultural context is shaping their determination of procedural acceptability. Mediator needs to work hard to uncover the cultural bias with their process and perceptions of what makes for good mediation.
Many authors distinguish carefully between mediation and conciliation, but there is no universal consensus as to the precise definitions of each of these terms.
The term “conciliation” has often been used interchangeably with mediation. Sometimes, the term conciliation generally refers to a process of dispute resolution in which parties in dispute usually are present in the same room. The conciliator communicates with each separately using shuttle diplomacy.
There is the tendency for conciliation to break down since in mediation separate caucuses are often held with the parties, whereas in conciliation some face-to-face meeting may be held. Conciliation also has a place within the arbitration process of some jurisdictions.
Best also defined conciliation as a third party activity, which covers intermediary efforts aimed at persuading the parties to work towards a peaceful solution. It also involves facilitation. It is the voluntary
referral of conflict, which either suggests a non-binding settlement or conducts exploration to facilitate more structures or techniques of conflict resolution. The latter can include confidential discussions with the disputants or assistance during a pre-negotiation.
Facilitation is a process by which a third party helps to coordinate the activities of a group, acts as a process facilitation during meetings, or helps a group prevent and manage tension and move productively toward decisions. The facilitation role can be placed on a continuum from simple group coordination.
One essential element of facilitation is its
involvement with groups small or large, and their processes, whether they are public in nature such as a government agency, or strictly private concerns, such as a corporate board of directors.
Adjudication is a term that can include decision-making by a judge, a court, by an administrative tribunal or quasi-judicial, a specially appointed commission, or by an arbitrator. An adjudicate determines the outcome of a dispute by making a decision for the parties that is final, binding and enforceable. The parties present their case to the adjudicator (or tribunal, commission or arbitrator) whose role is to weigh the evidence and make a
decision that is final, binding and enforceable.
Arbitrator differs from courts and quasi-judicial tribunal in a number of respects. For example, much arbitration is voluntary in that both parties agree to submit the dispute to arbitration. And the parties often agree on the selection of the arbitrator and the procedural rules. Generally, rule of evidence and procedure are more relaxed than the rules of court.
Arbitration can also be ordered by a court or be compelled by a statute judge or government official. An arbitrator has limited jurisdiction that is strictly determined by the construction of the relevant arbitration agreement or statute.
Best wrote that much of the third-party intervention in African traditional societies is done through arbitration.
In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties put their case before an impartial third-party who renders an opinion or recommendation, which the parties may choose to accept or not.
In a mini trial, counsel for the disputing parties and possibly the parties themselves, appear before a judge or expert lawyer who hears the case for both sides and renders the opinion and to what a judge might award in the case. In a summary jury trial, an informal jury is convened to make non-binding findings of fact or recommendation to the parties.
Sometimes experts are asked to provide a neutral case evaluation to help the parties resolve a dispute. Non-binding methods such as these can be an effective way to settlement during the course of litigation. If the resulting recommendation does not result in settlement, the parties usually go on to trial.
The term “Ombudsman” is Swedish in origin and means representative. The Swedish term said to be etymologically gender inclusive. But in English language, the term is often modified as ombudsperson or Ombuds office.
There are two major forms of ombudsman offices. These are
(i) Classical ombudsman, and
(ii) Executive ombudsman.
A classical ombudsman is an independent high-level public official responsible to the parliament or legislature and appointed by constitutional or legislative provision to monitor the administrative activities of government. The ombudsman has the power to investigate citizen complaints maladministration and administrative injustice, but may also act on his or her own notion.
The ombudsman may recommend change to prevent further administrative injustices and may also issue public reports. The ombudsman makes regular report to the legislature. By contrast, executive ombudsman reports directly to the chief-executive officer of the institution.
The common characteristic of all types of Ombuds office are impartiality, the power to investigate and the power to recommend change. To be effective, the ombudsman needs sufficient security of office to ensure independence. An ombudsman needs sufficient independent control of a budget sufficient to allow fulfillment of the ombudsman’s official mandate.
The ombudsman needs strong power to address complaints; other focus are on exclusive investigation, recommendation and reporting. Some ombudsman offices have a mandate for protection of human rights. Others focus exclusively on administrative fairness and prevention of maladministration.
The Importance ot Peace in National Unity and Development
As stated earlier, any attempt at relegating peace in any society is tantamount to jeopardizing everything within a given socio-political and economic environment. However some very critical areas of the society shall be examined.
Educational System: Education is a veritable tool for national development. It has been asserted that human capital development through a well-structured education system is a panacea for economic development of the nation. However, in the absence of peace, academic programmes would be grounded as schools might be destroyed, while teachers and other stakeholders hide for their dear lives.
Instances abound in the world where schools ranging from primary to tertiary institutions are closed down for months. This ugly situation sometimes leads to the production of half-baked graduates who cannot contribute maximally to both personal and national development. In addition poorly trained students from weak educational system are easy recruits for political and social vices and instability that impinge on national unity and peace.
Economic Activities: Conflict has the capacity of halting economic activities. Riots, demonstration and other social unrest create panic which could discourage business activities and loss of human life. A lot of man-power are lost, and property worth several millions of naira could be destroyed. This type of situation hinders economic growth and development. In addition, unrests frustrate both local and international business transactions.
Bilateral relation: Bilateral relationship among nations thrives in an atmosphere of peace. Where there is unrest of whatever form, it will be practically difficult for meaningful international guest or visitors to be hosted. A situation such as this dampers the image of the nation in question, and this might ultimately lead to the isolation of the country, thereby losing its place among the unity of nations.
Political stability: In the absence of peace there would be political instability, resulting in the destruction of political structures that foster democracy and proper governance, insecurity, arson kidnapping, refugees seeking for asylum status in other country etc. Furthermore, without peace and unity, militant groups such as the Niger Delta militant groups and the Boko Haram could be on the increase, thereby compounding the socio-political economic problem.
Religious Activities: Religion has moral benefit of molding and sharpening the character of people through the power of teaching, indoctrination and persuasion. Citizens could be taught the value of life respect for fellow citizens, patriotism and the fear of God. All these have positive impact on the mind of people.
In recent times, however, some religious extension have taken their religion too far thereby becoming a nuisance to the peace and security of the nation. In an atmosphere of unrest, religious activities would hardly be carried out. Such a situation deprives the citizens the benefits of their religions, which include social, spiritual and physical development.
Peace is one of the most important factors for attaining national unity and development. It is therefore very important to ensure the existence of peace in different sectors of our national life. A country that desires recognition and respect in the world should be able to maintain peace, and in addition, creating structures that would foster peace.
In the light of the above, the attainment of peace should be seen as a collective responsibility necessary for the all-round development of any nation and its people. Therefore, the government, civil societies, individuals, security agencies, must work in concert towards achieving peace for all.