Pillar 3 and a Multi-Track Approach


In order to prevent the spread of Boko Haram and other extremist groups  in the north west of Nigeria, a collaborative, positive-peace focused, multitrack approach is needed. A discussion of collaborative vs confrontational approaches, positive vs negative peace, and the Multi Track approach, followed by showing how such an approach can be applied to northwest Nigeria on several different societal levels, follows. Special attention will be paid to pointing out integration of the public, private, and civil society sectors in a multi-track, multi-sectoral approach.

Traditional peacebuilding models have used confrontational over collaborative approaches in establishing negative peace. These efforts have come about almost exclusively through Track 1, or official governmental channels, usually in response to a conflict that is already on-going rather than in an effort to prevent a conflict.[1] Collaborative and confrontational approaches to peacebuilding differ. Confrontational approaches involve a party (or sometimes parties) relying on coercion to enact a change in a conflict situation. Some 3rd party conflict objectives, including conflict management and conflict settlement, have traditionally relied on coercive tactics, such as peacekeeping troops forcefully separating warring parties and patrolling border zones. While these tactics enforce peace, they often do no preserve it on its own, particularly when the troops leave. Collaborative means, on the other hand, involves two or more parties working together to mutually identify and work towards common goals in conflict. It relies on persuasion, cooperation, and even team work to address conflict and its underlying causes. Additionally, positive and negative peace guide third party objectives. Negative peace is the absence of hostilities while positive peace is an absence of the conditions that led to hostilities.[2] Positive peace seeks to build up relationships, institutions, and measures that create harmony. While negative peace is usually necessary for positive peace processes to occur, negative peace does not guarantee that positive peacebuilding will occur. The northwest quadrant of Nigeria currently experiences negative peace, an absence of major hostilities. In this conflict prevention and transformation effort, we are employing collaborative means that focus on building positive peace in northwest Nigeria, my means of the multi-track method.

Multi Track Diplomacy was first developed by Dr. Louise Diamond and Ambassador John McDonald. This approach states that Track 1 approaches to peacebuilding is limited, it connects government leaders with other government leaders but does little to build peace on all levels of society. The Multi-Track approach lists nine levels of society that can be leveraged in peacebuilding in a conflict. These levels are as follows:[3]

  1. Track 1 – Diplomacy: government officials communicating with other government officials. Ex. 1998 Good Friday Accords between government representatives from the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
  2. Track 2 – Professional and academic conflict analysis and resolution practitioners: Ex. Many conflict analysis theorists and practitioners, including Edward Azar, Lisa Schirch, John Burton, and John Paul Lederach.
  3. Track 3 – Private business: Ex. Shell Corporation, Kraft foods, and any other for-profit venture.
  4. Track 4 – Private citizens and/or eminent persons: Ex, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair working as a special envoy to the Middle East or through his NGO, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
  5. Track 5 – Education and training: Ex. Research conducted by NGOs, teacher training programs, or other educational endeavors.
  6. Track 6 – Activists: Ex. Advocacy through activism for causes or groups of people including refugees, women, children, or the poor. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are both advocacy NGOs for human rights.
  7. Track 7 – Religion. Ex. Religious leaders and organizations mobilizing to reduce conflict or violence, including interfaith groups, Muslim NGOs, etc.
  8. Track 8 – Philanthropies: Ex. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  9. Track 9 – Media: Ex. Social media, TV, radio, internet, periodicals, and any other means used to publish information to a group of people.

Many efforts can be classified as more than one track. For example, Catholic Charities or the Red Crescent both embody a Track 7 and Track 8 approaches as philanthropic, religious organizations engaged in peacebuilding.

A multi-sectoral approach consists of engaging public, private, and civil society in a concerted, unified effort toward peace. The public sector consists of government entities at the local, national, and international levels, while private is mainly business enterprises. Civil society is a diverse group that consists of NGOs, IGOs, community organizations, religious organizations, and other generally not-for-profit groups.

In addition to a multi-sectoral approach, a multi-level approach in society is needed for this comprehensive conflict prevention plan in northwest Nigeria. Consideration is given to how each of the nine tracks can be utilized for conflict prevention and transformation on the local, societal, sub-regional, regional, and global levels. In this paper, the local level is the neighborhood, village, or town level. The societal level is defined as the civil, religious, ethnic, or other groups found in northwest Nigeria, specifically in the Sokoto area. Sub regional is defined as the northern Nigerian states and Nigeria as a whole. Regional is defined as west Africa and the Sahel region, while global refers to international linkages to Nigeria and northwest Nigeria. The table below summarizes these areas.


Table of definitions of societal levels in northwest Nigeria

Societal Level Defined Area
Local Neighborhoods, villages, towns
Societal Civil, religious, ethnic groups in Sokoto and northwest Nigeria
Sub-regional Northern Nigerian states and Nigeria as a whole
Regional Sahel; West Africa; sub-Saharan Africa
Global International linkages to Nigeria


With the groundwork defined, we will now turn to a discussion of what a multi track, multi sectoral, multi societal approach would look like in northern Nigeria. A special note should be made here that process is as important as the product in all tracks. The way in which each end is achieved should promote relationship building, anti-corruption, and positive peace as much as possible, with a firm focus that preventative peace to create a resilient society.


Track 1 – Diplomacy

The main work Track 1 can perform to assist in conflict prevention and transformation in northwest Nigeria is calling attention to the region and needed actions there, particularly corruption issues, citizen rights, and, poor societal relationships. Track 1 can also provide for the public defense and facilitate commerce.

On a local level, Ambassadors and other government representatives from concerned nations can speak with local and national leaders in Nigeria about conflict prevention possibilities in the northwest and increase awareness of needed changes to ensure that prevention and transformation take root. Working in culturally sensitive ways, ambassadors from other west African or Sahel nations can make the bulk of the recommendations and form the majority of the partnerships. This is toavoid a Western-heavy approach to prevention, increase independence in the region, and deny Boko Haram more fuel for its anti-West rhetoric.

Increasing commerce, education, infrastructure, and reducing corruption in the area provides a multi-sectoral approach to prevention. The public sector can be encouraged to increase infrastructure and reduce corruption in the area, thereby attracting private enterprises, which create jobs and decrease factors that inflame relative deprivation, feeding instability and conflict in the area.[4] Additionally, Track 1 efforts can support civil society in providing alternative educational options to extremist, pro-Boko Haram madrassas that support extremism in the northeast.

Track 1 is uniquely positioned to advocate for citizen rights. Our Pillar 2 analysis showed that citizen rights are not protected and this leads to structural violence and relative deprivation. The UN Human Rights Council can call for greater protections of Nigerian citizens’ rights, especially those of the poor. Similarly, regional governments in West Africa or the AU can hold conferences and sign policies protecting rights that the national governments, including Nigeria’s, can implement.

On a societal level, aid funding can go to civil society groups promoting cross-society linkages that build relationships in the community. John Paul Lederach points out the crucial effect of relationships in conflict resolution, prevention, and transformation and shows that societies with positive relations across class, religious, ethnic, or other demographic lines are more resilient to conflict.[5] He posits that the study of the relationships of a system, and not the system’s parts, shows the health or sickness in a system. Most conflicts come about as a result of dysfunctional or wounded relationships. Lederach asserts also that relationships are at the heart of reconciliation and healing. All tracks should focus on examining relationships among groups at all levels of society, local, societal, regional, sub-regional, and global. Assessing relationships on these levels will reveal the health of the peace on that level and point to any harm that needs to be reconciled. Lederach goes on to offer a reconciliation structure where an encounter is created and truth, justice, mercy, and peace play a collaborative role over time in healing broken relationships and  systems. Track 1, Track 2, and other resources should be used in identifying ailing societal relationships and creating encounters for reconciliation. These encounters could include cross-cultural farming cooperatives, schools integrated with both Muslims and Christians, business incentives advantaging female involvement, or other cooperative processes where cleavages in society can be addressed while building society and institutions.

The sub-regional level for Track 1 would benefit from public involvement in positioning defensive armies at the borders of Boko Haram territory. This would ensure that the negative peace already present in the northwest continues so that positive peace can take root.

Since Boko Haram is now an international group, governments in the region could prevent its spread through addressing structural violence. Passing and enforcing anti-poverty legislation may reduce the causes of conflict and undermine the seed bed for the spread of Boko Haram extremism. The public sector may also partner with the private sector in providing commerce contracts that uses existing business practices for legal business ventures. For example, corruption and organized crime is rampant in Nigeria and surrounding states. As discussed in Pillar 1 and 2, many organized crime groups in Nigeria are fluid, ad hoc organizations that form for a particular venture and dissolve once the venture is completed. Governments could play on this same ad hoc mechanism used to form illegal business ventures to form legal business ventures. By encouraging groups to form on an ad hoc basis to engage in government contracts or other ventures. This would provide an alternative to organized crime while still using the same social mechanism that organized crime operates on. Additionally, governments could engage in consistent punishment for breaking commerce laws, thereby encouraging legal, non-corrupt commerce. For example, Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives (MSIs) are invaluable tools where parties work together on an issue of mutual concern.[6] Buy-in and commitment from all three sectors, public, private, and civil, would be essential for the successful implementation of MSIs. MSIs will be discussed in more detail under the private sector.

Finally, a Track 1 global approach could consist of international governing bodies and concerned nations encouraging businesses and aid investment in northern Nigeria, especially where prevention is still possible in the northwest region. Wenger and Mockli discuss the power of the private sector in mitigating or preventing conflict through creating jobs, stability, and thereby reducing violence.[7] Global linkages at the Track 1 level can call attention to this fact and work with private and civil society groups to encourage businesses and educational entities to establish a presence in northwest Nigeria.


Track 2 – Academic, Professional Conflict Resolution Practitioners


A Track 2 approach conducted by professional conflict analysis and resolution practitioners would largely provide an in depth assessment of the conflict drivers and parties and then provide assessment for how resolution may be pursued. All other tracks will take their cue for how to resolve conflict and build peace in northwest Nigeria from analysis and recommendations provided in Track 2. Track 2 will also be responsible for the coordination effort among tracks and parties, where such coordination is necessary.

Overall, Track 2 practitioners would largely come from an NGO or a collaboration of NGOs, government, and civil society. They would use Lederach and Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, and Miall’s leadership pyramid to engage with society and regions at all levels as it relates to northwest Nigeria. Lisa Schirch’s very practical methods, detailed in her book, Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning, will be utilized. Specifically, her conflict assessment model would be the basis of such an analysis and intervention. They would also use Lockhart and Ghani’s sovereignty index from Fixing Failed States to assess how conflict drivers discovered in Pillar 2 are affecting key sovereignty indicators and holding Nigeria back from stability and conflict resilience.[8]  Making measureable improvements to these indicators will be the measuring stick used to assess if resolution efforts are successful or not.



On the local level, Track 2 practitioners would use existing networks as intermediaries to focus on grassroots and mid-level leaders (local NGOs, existing leadership structures, and other intermediaries). They would follow Schirch’s conflict assessment process by first conducting a self-assessment, determining what they as practitioners are and can be doing in northwest Nigeria.[10] This self-assessment will go beyond traditional self-assessment and also conduct an assessment of major parties in the Multi-Track approach. This exhaustive process will later allow for better coordination between all parties. Practitioners will then conduct a conflict assessment, which will build on the 3PF assessment already conducted in our Pillar 1 and 2 paper. This assessment will conclude with recommendations for all five geographic levels, using all nine tracks, and addressing Pillar 2 issues, using indicators in Ghani and Lockhart’s sovereignty index as benchmarks. Special attention will be paid to corruption, citizen rights, and mending or strengthening societal relationships. In this conflict prevention plan, conflict resolution and conflict transformation practices would be used in a dynamic fashion, the former to address issues that could lead to conflict and the latter to create relationships where sustainable positive peace is nurtured in the system.

Coordination remains a large challenge for comprehensive conflict resolution plans. Roland Paris studies the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) which aims to bring a more functional level of coordination and coherence to statebuilding efforts across the globe. He concludes that a balance must be found between the existing loose, decentralized approach and a more directed or hierarchical network.[11] The loose network allows for fluidity, necessary flexibility, and creativity to come to bear in a conflict intervention. However, these efforts would be improved through a body that has limited hierarchy and can provide timely information to guide the intervention process. The Track 2 assessment and the body that conducts it will serve as this loose but directed effort to coordinate efforts and provide information. It is expected that in such an intervention, the processes of addressing conflict resolution and conflict transformation and prevention will be dynamic and on-going and rely on organizations volunteering to participate in conflict prevention. Because the conflict is expected to change as intervention efforts take place, the Track 2 assessment should conduct periodic reassessment at least every five years to ensure that the direction of conflict transformation is positive and to identify any gaps in the nine tracks and solicit players to fill those gaps as necessary.


Track 3 – Private Sector


The private sector should be a driving force in conflict prevention in northwest Nigeria. It can contribute to economic stability, strengthening cross cultural community ties, influencing government to pass and enforce anti-corruption laws, and stimulating infrastructure.

The private sector in Track 3 of the multi-track model involves the business sector engaging in conflict-prone zones so as to reduce or prevent conflict. The events of 9/11 affirmed that the business sector can be directly and negatively affected by public sector issues, particularly political issues, including conflict prevention and risk management.[12] According to Wenger and Mockli, businesses face at least four long term costs in conflict areas: material damage (actual physical losses), security and risk management (costs will remain high after attacks), personnel (labor costs remaining high), and business environment (business becoming less attracted to the region).[13] These costs clearly connect profitability and conflict prevention.

Additionally, incentives for businesses to engage in conflict prevention or mitigation helps bolster the case for corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is a reaction to the negative impact many corporations have had on society. It calls for positive action on the part of the corporation to build up or give back to society. Socially responsible corporations preserve their branding and reputation that leads to increased profitability. CSR also provides potential for the private, civil society, and public sectors to engage in projects in the community, including in conflict prevention.

The private sector has already started to positively contribute to conflict prevention. In diagonal integration with businesses, NGOs, and training, the Prince of Wales International Business Forum (IBLF) is an NGO that has done pioneering research and practice in engaging the business sector in practices the mitigate or avoid conflict.[14] It also brings together the private sector and civil society as it researches policy issues and writes recommendations. Additionally, the International Peace Forum (IPF) and the Political and Economic Link Consulting (PELC) are two consulting firms that specialize in advising businesses in conflict or conflict prone regions.[15] Additionally, MSIs, or Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives mentioned in Track 1, are cooperatives where civil society, private, and public organizations work together to regulate business actions in conflict zones.[16] One example is the Kimberly Process for Diamond Certification, where businesses, NGOs, the UN, and governments participate in a process designed to ensure that players are not participating in the “blood diamond” trade.[17] An MSI in particular industries in Nigeria could go a long way in watch-dogging corruption, which plagues most business and governmental processes and holds Nigeria back from achieving a higher sovereignty rating in Ghani and Lockhart’s index. In all, interest and understanding in how to use the business sector in conflict prevention or conflict-prone zones is increasing, but it is still a far cry from methodically impacting the field.

In the case of northwest Nigeria, businesses operating in the area, such as construction firms, soft drink giants, and food and delivery services, can practice CSR at the global and regional level through initiatives at company headquarters. These initiatives would be informed by local and social research on the ground in the Sokoto region. With Boko Haram and other extremist groups active in West Africa, there should be media attention that socially conscious companies can coopt to broadcast what they are doing toward conflict prevention the Sokoto region. As awareness of conflict prevention efforts in Sokoto increases, businesses can attract other businesses to the area, stimulate government in the region to build infrastructure, and, at the advice of a Track 2 conflict assessment, implement business plans that integrate various demographics into business environments where vital cross cutting relationships can form.[18]


Track 4  – Private Citizens and Eminent Persons

Private citizens, eminent persons, and opinion leaders can contribute in northwest Nigeria in preventing conflict and transforming society. Influential political and religious leaders can be utilized within Nigeria and the diaspora network and other prominent persons can be enlisted outside Nigeria to assist in a conflict prevention that would nurture cross-cutting societal relationships, mitigate corruption, advocate for citizen rights, and create a multi-sectoral, collaborative approach.

The influence of the Sokoto Caliphate is essential in this Track. The Sokoto Caliphate, as discussed in Pillar 1 and 2, was a religious and political entity in northwest Nigeria in the 19th century. Though it has lost its former governing power, its influence remains strong in the region and a Sultan still heads this Sunni religious organization. The Sultan has been active in interfaith efforts with his Catholic counterparts on issues of health and peace. As leader the chairman of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, the Sultan has met with the Christian Council of Nigeria to nurture relationships, keep communication open, and work together on issues of mutual concern. Both the Sultan of Sokoto and the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, co-chair the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA). This organization is responsible for training 1,500 clerics who later trained 15,000 local religious leaders in malaria prevention techniques and effective distribution of mosquito nets.[19] This initiative shows diagonal integration where Track 4 is used in conjunction with Tracks 5 and 7 to create a positive peace initiative. This initiative strengthens community bonds and relationships in a collaborative way that produces positive peace. It also enhances Ghani and Lockhart’s sovereignty indicators by investing in human capital. This kind of process and cooperation is exemplary and shows how collaborative, positive peace can be achieved through the multi-track method.

Additionally, citizens and Nigeria’s large Diaspora can be mobilized to support peacebuilding efforts in northwest Nigeria. Nigeria’s large diaspora, from 5-15 million by some estimates, has spread out over the world. Organizations like NIDO (Nigerians in Diaspora Organizations) seek to foster a spirit of patriotism and cooperation that brings aid and benefits back to Nigeria.[20] Similarly, former president Olusegun Obasanjo conducted the first Nigerian Diaspora Dialogue in 2000 to strengthen ties between the Diapora and their homeland.[21] These organizations and prominent persons can be enlisted in building positive peace, addressing fatal corruption, applying pressure to protect citizenship rights, and preventing violent conflict from spreading to the northwest quadrant of Nigeria through awareness campaigns, sponsoring trainings, fostering economic opportunities, and raising funding.


Track 5 – Education and Training


Long term investment with visionary aims is needed to impact the Sokoto region in a preventative peace model. Education will lend toward long term stability while short term training will enrich society at all levels and make the area more resilient to extremist ideology.

In education, madrassas and other schools on the local level need to be funded by societal, local governance, and national government structures. This education should integrate Christians and Muslims in the same schools and also provide equal education for both sexes, whether they are mixed in the same schools or not. Education should also include conflict resolution practices, tolerance education, and build a positive, inclusive national identity. By its very name, “Western education is forbidden,” Boko Haram seeks to delegitimize Western education. It is important for the public relations war that curriculum development efforts for school children be based in the societal and regional spheres and be uniquely authentic to the Nigerian and West African contexts. Globally, programs and funds can be attracted to this region, by public, private, and civil society efforts, to provide programs, scholarships, analysis, and other support for engendering universal, tolerant education.

On the training side, many essential, short term, specialized trainings can take place across all levels of society to assist in conflict prevention in the region. Seminars for grassroots and mid-range leaders, mobile training teams (MTTs) for commerce, anti-corruption, advocacy, and governance, as well as trainings promoting native conflict prevention and resolution techniques or undermining conflict drivers discovered in our Track 2 analysis (particularly corruption and citizen rights) can all be developed and delivered. The main audience will be grassroots and mid-range leaders on the local and societal levels in Sokoto and Nigeria, with specialized trainings taking place for groups with specialized skills (ex: entrepreneurial, medical, teaching, or other skills). Planning and funding for these trainings will come from a mixture of NGOs, global, regional, and sub-regional actors and will meet the needs discovered by the Track 2 analysis.

Leaders in the midrange to elite levels in these leadership circles, particularly school principals and headmasters, university leaders, and leaders in professional networks, can increase investment in human capital, by advocating for programs and opportunities for primary education, vocational training, and scholarships. Increased education, particularly where people of all faiths can learn, will create a society more resilient to the influence of Boko Haram.

This education and training also supports Ghani and Lockhart’s sovereignty index. Education is a clear investment in human capital. For Nigeria’s future to not repeat the mistakes educational choices made in Afghanistan, education on all levels needs investment in primary, secondary, higher, and specialized education. Because of education choices made for Afghanistan by the World Bank and UN in 2002, higher education was sacrificed because it was believed that primary education needed to be established first and then higher education would come later.[22] As a result, Afghanistan has no one to conduct technical, administrative, or other skilled jobs. Much of it is contracted out at exorbitantly high rates, further impoverishing the country. Nigeria needs to ensure that human capital is developed at all levels in the northwest region, and not just the primary level. More universities should be built or more students admitted while primary and secondary education is made universal. This process will take years, but it will benefit Nigerians decades to come.


Track 6 – Activists


Activists play a necessary and change-making role in the effort to implement conflict resolution and transformation practices as a part of conflict prevention in the northwest region of Nigeria. They are connectors between the various Tracks and the several geographical regions to create initial partnerships, raise awareness, and advocate for change. Activists should be identified on all geographic levels and utilized in all tracks, and diagonally across tracks, to effect change. Indeed, if every job involves sales, every track initially involves an activist.

Activists should also come from all levels of leadership defined in John Paul Lederach’s leadership pyramid. Grassroots activists, community leaders such as Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye, who have engaged as religious leaders (Track 7) in years of conversations, dialogues, and activities that symbolically addressed issues of violence, exclusion, hatred, reconciliation, and peace.[23] These two activists pioneered the path Lederach spoke of in defining a system in terms of the health of its relationships, creating encounters, and employing peace, justice, mercy, and truth in order to reconcile parties.[24] These two grassroots leaders walked this path to healing for themselves, their followers, and now stand as a visible example, through media (Track 9), of how grassroots leadership can influence conflict resolution and transformation.

In addition to grassroots advocacy, activists at the mid-range and elite levels are also needed in this positive peace building effort. On the mid-range, society level, activists for change in Lockhart and Ghani’s creation of citizen rights should create a more inclusive society, cutting across religious, gender, and tribal lines. Mid-range leaders should advocate for citizenship rights and anti-corruption programs for all levels. Efforts designed to address social and legal discrimination will be key to a conflict resolution method that can resolve underlying causes of tension in northwest Nigeria so conflict transformation may occur.

On the elite level, both in Abuja and through international pressure, several sweeping changes could be made that would help Nigeria rise on Lockhart and Ghani’s sovereignty index. Corruption, as found in our Pillar 2 analysis, is a rampant problem at all levels of society. Corruption undermines the rule of law, the first and most basic indicator of a state’s ability to rule and assure confidence in government. Other conflict driver that is affecting the structural violence and causing relative deprivation in the region is unequal citizenship rights. Violations of the rule of law and citizenship rights affect other indicators dramatically. Market formation is hindered as an elite class system that fosters exclusion emerges. Public assets, including oil, agriculture, and clean water, are mismanaged due to corrupt contractors or officials receiving unlawful kickbacks. This creates a miniscule upper class, tiny middle class, and overwhelming poor class where economic and citizenship rights are overlooked and unprotected. Administrative control in the bureaucracy and effective public borrowing in the financial system both are hampered by corrupt practices and shaken public confidence in Nigeria’s ability to deliver services, administer laws, protect rights, or ensure loan repayment. As activists in the elite leadership partner with other Tracks, corruption and citizenship rights can be dealt with on an incremental basis and sovereignty indicators in Nigeria will strengthen. As the state strengthens, it will create a more resilient and stable society in northwest Nigeria and remove some factors inhibiting conflict prevention.


Track 7 – Religion


Track 7, religion, plays a largely facilitator role and can provide many of the practitioners for programs and projects on the ground in Sokoto. They will drive diagonal integration on this multi-track approach and form an operational backbone of action to this plan. Religious groups are established, well-respected, and have well-connected networks in Nigeria. Religious involvement and religious networks and leadership will go a long way in establishing positive peace.

Locally, Muslim NGOs have proved a solid partner in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).[25] They have networks, relationships, and a rapport of trust built with local communities. These groups, along with Christian NGOs with similar connections and commitment, will be indispensible in assessing needs during the Track 2 assessment and administering funds and programs on a local and national level. Some of these networks operate on the regional and global scale and have access to funds and expertise that can operationalize peace programs.

Another tool from Track 7 is that of religious leadership. The local and national levels of Nigeria already have positive interaction s and meetings between leaders of different faith communities, including between the Sultan of Sokoto and the catholic Archbishop of Abuja. Additionally, concerned individuals on the local level, such as Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye, mentioned earlier, have stepped up and formed a relationship over the years that leads to interpersonal and inter-communal peace and relationships.[26][27] With a religiously polarized north ast Nigeria and a polarizing north central, it is imperative that leaders of faith communities model and facilitate relationships between their communities to make positive peace resilient to any extremist ideologies.

On the regional, subregional, and global levels, conferences can be held, countries with positive faith relations studied, and different traditions celebrated in order to build respect, awareness, and friendship between different faith communities. Senegal, for example, has a vibrant interfaith community and has many practices and lessons to share on interfaith coexistence and cooperation.[28] Also, the Sokoto Caliphate could organize conferences with Senegalese and Nigerian faith leaders, discuss topics of religiously mandated virtues, such as tolerance, forgiveness, and love, and provide an influential and doctrinally sound conversation local pastors and imams can take back to their communities. In this way, it is hoped that religious influence, which is strong in the Sokoto region, will be able to help resolve conflict and transform the region into a stronger, more resilient community.


Track 8 – Philanthropies

Philanthropies will provide a critical role in initiating and helping fund many conflict resolution and transformation activities in the northwest quadrant of Nigeria. Higher ratings on Ghani and Lockhart’s sovereignty index can be achieved through assistance from philanthropies.[29] In speaking about philanthropies, caution should be paid to processes philanthropies use that make the region weaker and dependent rather than stronger and independent. Philanthropic institutions, such as the Gates Foundation, should seek sustainable goals, nurture creativity, partner with locals and local institutions, and be culturally sensitive. Philanthropic practices with underdeveloped plans, poor listening to needs on the ground, or seeking prerogatives that do not bolster conflict resolution and conflict transformation in this preventative effort should be avoided.

Global and regional philanthropies can make worthy investments in Lockhart and Ghani’s investment in human capital criteria by partnering on all levels, local, society, and with the Nigerian government. Long term investment in education, especially providing another option to extremist education provided in madrassas, is an essential function philanthropies can fill. Investment of this type, including curriculum, teacher training, scholarship programs, vocational training, and physical infrastructure, should be expected to take 5-10 years to initiate and 20-30 years to see results, and the results should bring positive dividends for generations.

Philanthropies can also assist in the formation of markets by making sure these graduates or other citizens have opportunities to find or create jobs. Small loaning programs, such as microfinance, or other programs that provide funds for business plans will go a long way in partnering with the community to invest in human capital. Similarly, health services can be assessed and provided for by philanthropies, such as Doctors without Borders, the Red Cross, and Red Crescent.

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation provides an excellent example of how global and regional actors (including NGOs and Universities) can fund and influence broad, state-strengthening initiatives across Nigeria. [30] Their efforts in vaccinations and preventable diseases seek to eradicate polio and regulate immunizations. This will create a healthier population that can form a stronger workforce, as well as free up caregivers to work for wages rather than nurse ailing family members. In agriculture, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture is aiming to double yam productivity on small farms in order to improve food security and increase revenues to poor families. This initiative addresses key conflict roots of food insecurity and poverty, which plague northern Nigeria and may make Boko Haram more appealing if these problems go unaddressed. Finally Challenge Funds in Nigeria is another Gates grantee whose project seeks to design and incentivize digital financial services for those without access to formal banking. This effort will bolster Nigeria’s financial sector and improve its effective public borrowing, as mentioned in Lockhart and Ghani’s sovereignty index. These are examples from just one philanthropy. Many more philanthropies, guided with similarly sustainable and inclusive principles, will be able to partner with other Tracks and assist the northwest quadrant in its conflict resolution and transformation efforts.


Track 9 – Media


Finally, Track 9, Media, is a subtle but key player in any comprehensive, multi-track plan. Media will play a double role. One will be as a means of increasing focus on the need for positive peacebuilding in northwest Nigeria. The second purpose will be to steadily nurture a persuasive campaign for and to Nigerians to support peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts in northwest Nigeria.

Media traditionally is conically shaped, with one voice at the small end reaching a wide base the large end. Though 21st century media and social media is making this cone more and more cylindrical and narrow, it still makes sense to focus a media campaign in a top-down fashion. Global media, such as the BBC’s Focus on Africa, Al-Jazeera, or regional news syndicates, should focus on the comparison between northwest and northeast Nigeria. This will draw a clear contrast between these areas but also highlight the danger Sokoto is in and its susceptibility to the spread of Boko Haram. The same social cleavages, lack of education, infrastructure, and economic prosperity that plagues the northeast of Nigeria is also found in the northwest. Media attention on the global and regional levels will be essential for drawing public attention to the needs of the Sokoto region. As this takes place, all other tracks will benefit from continued coverage of the region and be able to better understand the needs of the community.

Because peacebuilding efforts do not often command front page attention, media should use Boko Haram’s media attention to report on peacebuilding efforts in the northwest. As Boko receives media attention, reporters and editors for Focus on Africa or Al Jazeera should take advantage of that attention and pull in comparative stories of positive peacebuilding efforts in the northwest, showing preventative efforts being taken against Boko Haram. In this way, media for Boko Haram is effectively “hijacked” to bring attention to conflict prevention efforts in the neighboring northwest. Mid range and elite level leaders on the global, sub-regional, and regional levels should advocate to media industries to co-opt or share media attention of Boko Haram with the northwest, highlighting positive, preventative efforts toward peace in creating a society resilient to Boko Haram. Sources on the local level and global funders could provide primary resources for these positive news stories. Demand for positive stories about defending against Boko Haram and other extremists can certainly be created. Online campaigns supported by Nigerians’ strong online presence can be initiated. Forums, such as Nairaland (a Nigerian discussion board), Twitter, and Facebook can be utilized for these movements, along with local radio programming to “hijack” Boko Haram’s media attention for peacebuilding. As long as media attention lasts for Boko Haram or other extremist groups is how long media attention for preventative efforts in the northwest can last.




It is clear that the 3PF analysis model has revealed the conflict parties and underlying drivers of conflict in our Pillar 1 and 2 assessment of the northwest quadrant of Nigeria. While no manifest conflict process exists there yet, an aggressive manifest conflict process can be found just to the east, where conditions and drivers are very similar to the northwest. As such, this intervention has adopted a conflict resolution model that addresses the current potential drivers of conflict and then melds into an ongoing conflict transformation or conflict prevention practice that seeks to transform the relationships and processes that could create conflict. In our Pillar 2 assessment, corruption and unprotected citizen rights werefound as a key drivers of conflict that negatively affected all other aspects of state building. Gurr’s relative deprivation and Galtung’s structural violence are used to understand conflict processes on the ground in northwest Nigeria and project their likely trajectory. Ghani and Lockhart’s ten essential functions of a state are used as bench marks to measure and understand state functions that produce healthy relationships that can transform and prevent conflict. These benchmarks are applied to a collaborative, positive peacebuilding practice utilizing McDonald and Diamond’s Multi-Track Diplomacy model to make interventions on five socio-geographic levels utilizing public, private, and civil society sectors. These transformative solutions center around a Track 2 conflict assessment and plan that is set to maintain a loose but directed presiding role over a large, necessarily voluntary, and complex intervention. The process of conflict resolution and conflict transformation and prevention is a dynamic one that will require years of investment and healing. The Track 2 assessment will periodically reassess the conflict situation in northwest Nigeria, and from that barometer, make recommendations and solicit involvement where additional work is needed. In all, the multi-track approach seeks a collaborative approach to bolster positive peace in northwest Nigeria through a complex, multi-track approach that focuses on corruption, citizen rights, cross-society relationships, and statebuilding through benchmarks set in the ten essential functions of state. By doing so, the negative peace, but pre-conflict, area of northwest Nigeria can stand resilient to advances of violent extremism to its east and create a haven for peace in northern Nigeria.

[1] Sandole, Dennis J. D. Peacebuilding: Preventing Violent Conflict in a Complex World. Cambridge: Polity, 2010. 69-72.

[2] Sandole, Dennis J. D. Peacebuilding: Preventing Violent Conflict in a Complex World. Cambridge: Polity, 2010. 8-10.

[3] Sandole, Dennis J. D. Peacebuilding: Preventing Violent Conflict in a Complex World. Cambridge: Polity, 2010. 52-54.

[4] Ted Gurr. Why Men Rebel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1970.

[5] Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997. 27.

[6] Zelizer, Craig. Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2013. 134-138.

[7] Wenger, Andreas, and Daniel MO. Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003. 6-9.

[8] Ghani, Ashraf, and Clare Lockhart. “The Framework: The Ten Functions of the State.” In Fixing Failed States a Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

[9] Maiese, Michelle. “Levels of Action | Beyond Intractability.” Levels of Action | Beyond Intractability. Accessed May 12, 2015.

[10] Schirch, Lisa. Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning: Toward a Participatory Approach to Human Security. Boulder, CO: Kumarian Press, 2013.

[11] Paris, Roland. “Understanding the “Coordination Problem” in Postwar Statebuilding.” In The Dilemmas of Statebuilding: Confronting the Contradictions of Postwar Peace Operations. London: Routledge, 2009.

[12] Wenger, Andreas, and Daniel Mockli. Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003. 107.

[13] Ibid, 108-109.

[14] Wenger, Andreas, and Daniel Mockli. “Bringing in the Business Sector.” In Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003.

[15] Wenger, Andreas, and Daniel Mockli. “Bringing in the Business Sector.” In Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003.

[16] Wenger, Andreas, and Daniel Mockli. “Bringing in the Business Sector.” In Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003, 135.

[17] Wenger, Andreas, and Daniel Mockli. “Bringing in the Business Sector.” In Conflict Prevention: The Untapped Potential of the Business Sector. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003, 13

[18] Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997.

[19] Woods, Tom. “Woods International, LLC – Opinions.” Woods International, LLC – Opinions. June 24, 2013. Accessed May 12, 2015.

[20]“Nigerians in Diaspora.” United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria. Accessed May 12, 2015.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ghani, Ashraf, and Clare Lockhart. Fixing Failed States a Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. 142-143.

[23] The Imam and the Pastor. Nigeria: FLT-films Foundation, 2003. Film.

[24] Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997. 26-31.

[25] Barzegar, Abbas, and Shawn Powers. “Muslim NGOs Could Help Counter Violent Extremism.” Washington Post. February 17, 2014. Accessed May 1, 2015.

[26] The Imam and the Pastor. Nigeria: FLT-films Foundation, 2003. Film.

[27] Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997. 27.

[28] Samb, Pape . “Class Speaker: Pape Samb.” Lecture, CONF 690 from Dennis Sandole, Arlington, October 28, 2014.

[29] Ghani, Ashraf, and Clare Lockhart. “The Framework: The Ten Functions of the State.” In Fixing Failed States a Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

[30] “Our Work in Africa.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed May 6, 2015.