“Don’t fear to negotiate but don’t negotiate out of fear” – John F. Kennedy
Since human actions are prone to frictional and conflictual situations, the art of navigating mankind out of trouble waters and crisis control is kernel to man’s peaceful coexistence.
For the Yorubas in South Western Nigeria, conflict resolution and crisis management lean on a proverbial plank, that says: “though the teeth and tongue are housed in the small room called mouth, yet both disagree to agree, especially when the teeth bites and bloodied the tongue. Neither will vacate the house for the other.” Deep wisdom.
There would never have been any warfare, if humans emulate the logic of cohabitation of the teeth and tongue. For it’s far cheaper and profitable to jaw jaw than war war.
Infact, classic public relations practice respects the creation of understanding for mutual benefits and communal or national development.
Hence, PR devotes precious time and space to brand perception and reputation protection. PR dwells on implosion and explosion in human affairs, through conflict prevention and resolution mechanism.
Ditto for the African hospitality philosophy of Ubuntu. The unified commonality of “I am, because we are.”
Each spoke has a role in steadying the bicycle’s wheel on track, when well hinged on a proper coordinating hub. Same applies to human association.
No wonder, political philosophers of yore postulated, that: “a political party is an assemblage or registered association of persons of like minds seeking to attain power, ready to wrestle for it and share in governance after electoral victory.”
Setting such a high standard podium for human competition, without an iota of doubt, paves the concrete floor for friction, lobbying, horse-trading, bickering, mudslinging, brickbatting and political theatrics. All is fair in war, they say.
But when push comes to shove, and cracks appear in human affairs, the belligerent parties should take the wise counsel of the assassinated 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, famous for his stance on fence-mending quotation on negotiation:
“Don’t fear to negotiate but don’t negotiate out of fear.”
To be candid, no word or situation is hard enough to require a scalpel to slice it like bread.
For instance, the winner of the 1993 annulled presidential election, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, MKO for short, lived by these axioms: “the bigger the head, the bigger the headache. Only crabs are saved from headache because they’re headless. Who wants to be a crab?”
The liberal politician and mercurial business mogul often called for cooperation and collaboration amongst people, thus: “no man can clap with one hand. And it’s not possible to shave a man’s head in his absence.” Poignant truth.
The relevance of the aforestated positions in conflict prevention and resolution to the seemingly unabating intra party friction or ‘war of attrition’ in the leading opposition party in the country, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), cannot be over-emphasised.
Of recent, political lizards from other parties are seen trying hard to infiltrate the open crevice created after the PDP’s presidential primary and choice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, as flagbearer and vice presidential candidate respectively.
Notwithstanding, time is now ripe to mend the cracks and cement the bonds of unity in diversity, through clear-cut demonstration of equitable mediation and genuine reconstruction of the mansion to offer comfortable rooms for all to strive and thrive.
Lest the political soldiers of fortune and war-benefitting vultures, the likes of APC and Labour Party, will find free meal on the carcass of an elephant (PDP). This is an avoidable conflict, one that is still redeemable. Let the men involved, revolve their positions and make peace midway. It is do-able!
Fortunately, sadly though, the abysmal level of misgovernance in the country; disunity and total insecurity, lack of equity, fuel scarcity, hyper inflation, comatose economy, utter disdain for education, mass unemployment, disastrous public health situation and state of hopelessness; are pointers to why PDP cannot afford to drop the ball, over intra party squabble.
Nigeria needs to be rescued now, and at all cost legitimately possible!
And here comes the gauntlet to real statesmen; such as the detribalised and defender of democracy, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; and the ebullient Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, aka ‘Mr. Project’ and ‘Talk and Do Man.’
History will etch the names of both gladiators in gold, if they can sip the milk of truce and forge ahead as one, to rescue our nation from the claws of imminent death under the APC.
The recent visit of Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos State Governors to the Garden City of Port Harcourt, was not necessarily to taste periwinkle peppersoup or savour the flavour of Bonny gin. That special mission was at the behest of “Emi Lokan” exponent, the self-glorifying and ambitious APC presidential candidate, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a seasoned political fox and war horse.
Governor Wike, and his teeming supporters, should please see beyond the likely carrots from the ‘Lion of Bourdillion’. A man who cannot offer honesty can never be dependable on loyalty.
It’s absolutely indefensible for any politician worth his/her salt to market a ruling party that has abandoned governance and sank a thriving economy to becoming the poverty headquarters of the world. Who cursed Nigeria?
Our compatriots are in the throes of death; be it at home, on the road, in the farm, on the train (where available) or even in the air! “Which Way Nigeria?”
Therefore, as our Muslim compatriots celebrate Eid Fitri, to mark selfless sacrifice, communal interest and hope for a better tomorrow; the onus of proof of astute leadership and statesmanship lies in the corner of PDP stakeholders, to save the political house they built in 1998, which brought Nigeria into economic boom and prosperity, from crumbling before our own very eyes!
Finally, it is high time for a parley, truce, re-union or better bonding amongst PDP members; in order to present a unified front against the spent-force of APC at the next polls.
The big umbrella party, PDP, now have to live up to its traditional damage limitations antecedents of “sealing deals as family affairs.”
After all, war is an extra locomotive to drive diplomacy to it’s desired destination.
Let there be a court of honour please, where men will speak their hearts and walk the talk of unity for national development.
Anything less, may snap the rope from the hill of hope and further nosedive the country into an irredeemable slope.
‘Let those with ears hear.’ Methinks!
•Chief Alaba Yusuf, an International Publicist and Communication Strategist, writes in from London