Sylvester Odueh

Sly

Asked to share his experience as co-coordinator of Obi Ogadi and Ogboli Peace Committee (OOPC), and what this means to his community in Delta, Nigeria, Mr. Sylvester Odueh responded: “We have succeeded in knowing ourselves, we are no more enemies. All we are doing now is to see how we can resolve our problems.” He recalled, “If it were in those days, you know we cannot sit with them (Ibusa), we can’t discuss with them, but with the formation of OOPC we can interact with ourselves, we can visit ourselves. If there is anything happening over there we go there, if there is any event happening there we attend it. If we have anything here they come here and join us. It has been a very good thing.”

Asaba and Ibusa are neighboring communities in Oshimini north Council area in Delta, Nigeria. Both communities have long standing dispute over a parcel of land called Ani Udo, a disagreement that soiled their relationship, and threatening to degenerate into violent conflict before PPP’s engagement. Through our Nigerian Partner, Health Matters Incorporated (HMI), the Purdue Peace Project convened a meeting with all the stakeholders, and following that, the OOPC, comprised of local citizens emerged and have been driving the peace effort in their communities. Odueh recalls the origin of OOPC, “You know they (PPP & HMI) called a peace forum, and since then we have been trying to sort our problem out. Since we started this project in Dec 2013, we have been meeting with the Ibusa group.”

According to Odueh, the considerable peace achieved through the collective effort of the local peace committee mean much to his community, especially given the bitterness that characterized their relationship. He articulates the implications for his community this way,

“Like I said earlier, before the peace forum, there was no room for us to come together and discuss our differences, but PPP & HMI brought us together, so now we can sit together, eat together. Before now such things does not exist at all. With the introduction of OOPC, things are moving better than it was before. OOPC has improved the relationship between us and Ibusa, and I hope that it will continue until the boundary demarcation is conducted.”

Odueh describes his role in OOPC, “I am one of the coordinators of the peacebuilding effort between Asaba and Ibusa. I am one of the people that make sure that things move very well. We make sure that the contacts are well made and enlighten people about what we are doing and what we have achieved so far through the PPP supported peacebuilding initiative.”

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