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  • Chapter One Below


Traditional Youth Forum Impact on Community Peacebuilding in Nigeria



In this quantitative survey research, a structured questionnaire was employed to investigate perceptions and beliefs surrounding traditional youth forum impact on community peacebuilding in Nigeria. The study aimed to explore the historical evolution, effectiveness of strategies, and challenges faced by these forums in the context of community peace-building. A sample of 120 respondents participated in the survey, and data collection was conducted using a structured questionnaire. The collected data were presented and analyzed using SPSS27, and hypotheses were tested using the t-test. The findings of this study revealed diverse and nuanced perceptions regarding traditional youth forums. Notably, there was a prevalent belief among respondents that the strategies employed by these forums for peace promotion were outdated and ineffective. This scepticism highlights the need for potential reassessment and innovation within these forums to enhance their efficacy in promoting peace. Additionally, the study identified uncertainties surrounding the historical evolution and specific challenges faced by these forums, emphasizing the importance of improved communication and further research to bridge knowledge gaps. In conclusion, this research contributes to a deeper understanding of traditional youth forums’ roles in community peace-building in Nigeria. It underscores the need for clearer communication about their historical contributions and challenges. The study recommends policy integration, stakeholder engagement, and resource mobilization to enhance the effectiveness of these forums. Ultimately, these findings have broader implications for the development of more effective peace-building strategies, not only in Nigeria but also in similar contexts globally.




Background to the Study

The study of the impact of traditional youth forums on community peace-building in Nigeria is essential in the contemporary context of the country’s sociopolitical landscape. Nigeria, with its rich cultural diversity and complex history, faces numerous challenges related to peace and conflict. Against this backdrop, the role of traditional youth forums in promoting and sustaining peace within communities takes on significant relevance (Murinda, 2020).

Nigeria, as Africa’s most populous nation, has a demographic composition that features a substantial youth population. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in Nigeria, young people between the ages of 15 and 34 account for over half of the country’s total population (NBS, 2021). This demographic reality underscores the importance of understanding how youth, particularly those engaged in traditional forums, contribute to community peace-building.

Traditional youth forums in Nigeria are deeply rooted in the country’s diverse cultures and traditions. These forums often function as mechanisms for conflict resolution, community development, and the preservation of cultural values. They bring together young people who are custodians of tradition and play pivotal roles in the maintenance of social harmony (Akpuru-Aja, 2019). These forums, sometimes referred to as “youth councils” or “youth associations,” exist in various forms across Nigeria’s numerous ethnic groups and communities.

One of the primary factors motivating this research is the recognition of the potential of traditional youth forums to serve as catalysts for peace and stability in Nigeria. These forums are uniquely positioned to bridge generational gaps, fostering dialogue between elders and young people. This intergenerational communication is crucial for the transmission of cultural values and the resolution of conflicts that may arise due to changing societal dynamics (Mutisi, 2020; McEvoy-Levy, 2021).

Youth unemployment is a pressing issue in Nigeria, and it has implications for both peace and conflict. The high levels of youth unemployment in the country can lead to disenfranchisement and vulnerability to recruitment by extremist groups or involvement in criminal activities (Ali, 2020; Buwule, 2018). Traditional youth forums can play a role in addressing this challenge by promoting skill development, vocational training, and entrepreneurial initiatives among young people, thereby enhancing their economic prospects and contributing to peacebuilding efforts (Chigunta et al., 2019).

Furthermore, traditional youth forums can serve as conduits for conflict resolution at the community level. They often possess deep knowledge of local customs and traditions, enabling them to mediate disputes and prevent conflicts from escalating (Mecha, 2021). The ability of these forums to foster social cohesion and maintain peace is particularly relevant in a country as ethnically and culturally diverse as Nigeria.

While traditional youth forums offer significant potential for community peacebuilding, they also face challenges. Limited resources, lack of formal recognition by government institutions, and potential co-optation by political actors are some of the obstacles that these forums encounter (Mutisi, 2020). As such, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive study to understand the dynamics, impact, challenges, and opportunities associated with traditional youth forums in Nigeria’s peacebuilding efforts.

Statement of Problem
The statement of the problem for this research revolves around the challenges and gaps in understanding the role of traditional youth forums in community peace-building within the context of Nigeria. Despite their potential significance, these forums face various issues that need to be addressed.

Firstly, there is a lack of comprehensive research and documentation regarding the activities, strategies, and impact of traditional youth forums in promoting peace within Nigerian communities. This knowledge gap inhibits a clear understanding of their effectiveness and the factors that contribute to or hinder their success in peacebuilding efforts (Mutisi, 2020).

Secondly, traditional youth forums often operate with limited resources and little or no formal recognition from government institutions. This financial and institutional fragility can constrain their ability to carry out peacebuilding initiatives effectively. Additionally, there is a need to explore how these forums can access resources and support to enhance their contributions to peace (UNFPA, 2020).

Thirdly, while youth unemployment is a pressing issue in Nigeria and can be linked to conflicts, there is limited research on the extent to which traditional youth forums are involved in addressing this challenge. Understanding their potential role in skill development, vocational training, and employment opportunities for young people can contribute to both economic stability and peace (Ali, 2020).

Lastly, the potential for political co-optation of traditional youth forums raises concerns about their autonomy and impartiality in conflict resolution. Investigating the extent to which political actors influence or manipulate these forums is crucial for evaluating their effectiveness in promoting genuine peace (Mecha, 2021).

Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study, are as follows:

  1. To assess the historical evolution of traditional youth forums in Nigeria and their role in community peace-building.
  2. To identify the specific mechanisms and strategies employed by traditional youth forums in contributing to peace within their communities.
  3. To analyze the challenges and constraints faced by traditional youth forums in their efforts to promote community peace in Nigeria.

Research Questions

To guide this study, the following research questions were formulated:

  1. How have traditional youth forums in Nigeria evolved historically, and what roles have they played in community peace-building?
  2. What are the key mechanisms and strategies employed by traditional youth forums to promote peace within their communities?
  3. What challenges and constraints do traditional youth forums encounter in their peace-building endeavours in Nigeria?

Research Hypotheses

In line with the research questions, the following hypotheses will be tested:

  1. There is no significant historical evolution of traditional youth forums in Nigeria, with demonstrable impacts on community peace-building.
  2. Traditional youth forums employ various mechanisms and strategies thatdo not positively influence peace within their communities.
  3. Traditional youth forums do not face significant challenges and constraints in their efforts to promote community peace in Nigeria.

Significance of the Study

This study holds several implications for academia, policymakers, and practitioners in Nigeria and beyond. Firstly, it contributes to the existing body of knowledge on youth participation in peace-building initiatives, specifically focusing on traditional youth forums. By comprehensively understanding their roles, mechanisms, and challenges, this research can inform more effective peace-building strategies.

Policymakers and stakeholders in Nigeria can benefit from the findings of this study by designing and implementing targeted policies and programs that harness the potential of traditional youth forums as agents of peace. Moreover, the study may facilitate cross-cultural and inter-community dialogues, fostering a more harmonious society in Nigeria.

Scope of the Study

This study holds significant value for various stakeholders, including students and scholars. It contributes to the academic community by enriching the body of knowledge related to the role of Traditional Youth Forums in community peace building in Nigeria. For students pursuing degrees in fields such as peace and conflict studies, sociology, political science, and community development, this research provides a valuable resource. It offers insights into the practical implications of Traditional Youth Forums’ activities, serving as a foundation for further academic exploration and discourse in the realm of peacebuilding.

Moreover, this study directly benefits Nigerian youth who are actively engaged in Traditional Youth Forums. It sheds light on the effectiveness and impact of their initiatives in promoting peace within their communities. Armed with this knowledge, young leaders can make informed decisions to enhance their peacebuilding efforts. They can develop more strategic and well-targeted approaches while collaborating more effectively with relevant stakeholders. This study empowers Nigerian youth with the tools and understanding needed to create a more peaceful and harmonious society.

Furthermore, the government of Nigeria stands to gain substantial insights from this research. By understanding the contributions of Traditional Youth Forums to community peacebuilding, policymakers and government agencies can design and implement informed policies and programs. These initiatives can provide crucial support and amplify the positive impact of youth-led peacebuilding activities. As such, this study can serve as a guiding resource for policymakers, aiding in the formulation of policies and the allocation of resources to strengthen peacebuilding efforts throughout Nigeria.

Limitations of the Study

Several limitations may impact the findings and interpretations of this research. These include:

Sampling Bias: The study relies on a limited number of traditional youth forums, which may not fully represent the diversity of such forums in Nigeria.

Data Collection Challenges: Accessing accurate and comprehensive data from traditional youth forums may prove challenging due to factors such as confidentiality and distrust.

Temporal Constraints: The study focuses on a specific timeframe, and the findings may not account for changes or developments beyond this period.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

To ensure clarity and consistency in the study, the following key terms are operationally defined:

Traditional Youth Forums: In this context, traditional youth forums refer to organized groups of young people within Nigerian communities who actively engage in activities related to the promotion of peace, social cohesion, and community development, while drawing upon traditional values and practices.

Community Peace-Building: The process of initiating and fostering activities, dialogue, and cooperation aimed at reducing conflicts, promoting reconciliation, and enhancing harmony within a specific community or region.

Mechanisms and Strategies: Specific methods, practices, and actions employed by traditional youth forums to contribute to community peace, including conflict mediation, dialogue facilitation, and community outreach.

Challenges and Constraints: The obstacles, limitations, and difficulties faced by traditional youth forums in their peace-building endeavours, encompass issues such as resource constraints, cultural barriers, and external pressures.



  • UNFPA. (2020). Youth and Peacebuilding: Exploring the Role of Young People in Building and Sustaining Peace in Nigeria. United Nations Population Fund.
  • Urdal, H. (2020). Youth Bulge Theory and the Youth-Peace Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities. PRIO Policy Brief, 1(2020), 1-9.
  • Vanhuysse, P., & Goerres, A. (2020). Aging Populations in Post-Industrial Democracies: Challenges and Opportunities. Demographic Research, 43(15), 385-416.
  • Weber, J. (2021). Demography and Democracy: The Impact of Youth Cohort Size on Political Stability. Political Science Quarterly, 136(2), 263-286.
  • imStat. (2020). Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency. Population Census.


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