The Role of Culture and Belief Systems in the Management of Oil-Induced Conflict in Ilaje, Ondo State, Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


The Yoruba and Africa as a whole have a rich cultural heritage that serves as a formidable channel of conflict resolution. The quest for peace in the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria cannot succeed without the adoption of relevant aspects of traditional cultural belief systems in the management of oil-induced conflict. The relative peace among the oil-producing communities of Ilaje, a Yoruba subgroup, could be attributed to their cultural beliefs and practices including rites of passage for the dead, beliefs pertaining to the ancestral power of elders and of Ayelala (their goddess), and Yoruba intrinsic culture of peace. Comparative study of these cultural beliefs also reveals their relevance and viability in resolving contemporary African conflict in the evolution of a culture of peace. Methodology adopted to elicit data for this study includes participant observation, in-depth interviewing with key informants, and focus group discussion.