This research studies Good Governance and conflict resolution in Anambra state with focus on the Umuleri and Aguleri communities’ experience. Both communities were engulfed in intractable conflicts over the ownership of Otuocha land. Aside the contest over land, both communities have been engaged in the reconstruction of their history with each claiming to be the direct descendant of Eri. The research adopts qualitative evaluation method. The research basically draws from primary and secondary sources. The research hypothesized that good governance is the major ingredients in conflict resolution. The research from its findings discovered that good governance promotes peace in Nigeria policy and can be achieved through a transparency and accountability, Respect for the rule of law, Prudent management of resources, strict adherence to the principle of federal character in appointments. It further discovered that good governance is a critical element for peace, security and sustainable development. The research among others recommend that the present administration should endeavor to bridge this wide gap by showing true political will in resolving the mistrust, revamping the economy and effectively address the development needs and aspirations of citizens.
1.1Background to the Study
Governance, according to the World Bank Report (2010) is the exercise of political power in the management of a nation’s affairs. This definition thus implies that governance encompasses the state’s institutional and structural arrangements, decision-making processes and implementation capacity, and relationship between the governing apparatus and the governed-that is the people in terms of their standard of living.
Odock (2011) in his analysis sees good governance as “a system of government based on good leadership, respect for the rule of law and due process, the accountability of the political leadership to the electorate as well as transparency in the operations of government”. Transparency, Odock opined that it has to do with the leadership carrying out government business in an open, easy to understand and explicit manner, such that the rules made by government, the policies implemented by the government and the results of government activities are easy to verify to the ordinary citizens. Accountability as a component of good governance refers to the fact that those who occupy positions of leadership in the government must give account or subject themselves to the will and desire of the society and people they lead. Unfortunately, this is lacking in the public domain in Nigeria. Governance typically emphasizes leadership which suggests the way political leaders meaning the apparatus of the state, use or misuse power, to promote social and economic development or to engage in those agendas that largely undermine the realization of the good things of life for the people. Good governance is in tandem with democratic governance which is largely characterized by high valued principles such as rule of law, accountability, participation, transparency, human and civil rights. These governance qualities have the capacity to provide the development process of a country.
Onifade (2011) has posed a critical question as to whether it’s possible to have good governance without good leadership. Our understanding of reality points to the fact that the former is logically derived from the latter because where there is effective and efficient leadership, there is bound to be good governance. Achebe (1983) had argued convincingly in his seminal book, ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’, that the failure of leadership to rise to its responsibility, to the challenges of personal exemplary life clearly shows why the nation has the problem of true leadership. It is exemplary leadership that can uplift the people, better the lives of the citizenry and see that the people as much as possible enjoy the public resources without ado as is the case in most advanced democracies such as the United States, Canada, Switzerland and some upcoming developing nations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Korea, theoretical explanations have been advanced by such scholars Migdal (1988), Zartman (1995) about the fact that in the absence of governance, a nation may experience state collapse or failure. This has been the lot of most African countries including Nigeria where lead governance has held sway. A state ideally is meant to be an organization, composed of several agencies led and coordinated by the state leadership (executive authority) which has capacity and authority to make and implement the finding rules for all the people and applying force if necessary to have its way.
Zartman (1995) specifically notes that the status of a state is reviewed as failed or collapsed when it exhibits inability to fulfill the functions of a state such as the sovereign authority, decision-making institution and security guarantor for its population. This can lead to structure, authority (legitimate power), law and political order falling apart.
On the other hand, conflict has become an evitable phenomenon in human existence. As long as there are social relationships between individuals and groups in the society, conflict will persist. Although, conflict often initiates change in society, its violent form is negative and reverses societal progress, promoting poverty and anarchy. There is n o doubt that violent conflict has wreaked havoc on our communal and national social fabrics since 1999, in particular, when electoral democracy was enthroned in Nigeria. Compounding the problem of underdevelopment in Nigeria is micro nationalism, ethnic, religious and communal conflicts which pose great threat to peace, security and progress. The crises had closed the doors of friendship, interaction and rapport among the various ethnic groups in the nation. Therefore, attempts at promoting peaceful co-existence among the various identities that exists in the nation becomes contradictory if not elusive as various ethnic, religious, political, economic and social catastrophe keep one reoccurring in the polity. This has compounded the situation of insecurity in Nigeria’s fragile federal system which, over the years, has experienced ethnic, religious and political crises of monumental proportions. The most devastating amongst these have been communal conflicts in all parts of the country. The frequent occurrence of conflict in Nigeria in recent times is a threat not only to democracy but also to the corporate existence of the country as a political entity. Since good governance is an essential ingredient in the promotion of peaceful coexistence in the society given its indispensable elements of rule of law, human right protection, free and fair election, accountability, independent court of law as well as creating the right environment for socio-economic development (AbdulMaleek 2011).
Therefore, this work seeks to evaluate the relation between good governance and conflict occurrence with special reference to Aguleri and Umuleri conflict.