Traditional Institutions and Conflict Resolution in Contemporary Africa

Main Article Content

Ileola Elizabeth Oladipo


The failure of post-colonial African states in providing solutions to the incessant crises confronting them has been traced to their detachment from their institutional and cultural values. The argument is that modern techniques at resolving internecine conflicts in the continent have not yielded optimal results over the years. Whereas, in traditional African societies, the mechanism put in place to address conflicts prevented the atrophying of the communities and occasioned activities that promoted peace among members of the societies. Traditional Africa’s approaches to conflict resolution are believed to be largely guided by unique norms, values, as well as cultural and traditional settings of the community. These promoted their capacity to co-exist peacefully, to commune together, to respect one another, to forgive and to reconcile. In order to see how these can be replicated in contemporary Africa, research efforts have been dedicated to proffering alternative models that are contextually based, and more suitable for African societies. Therefore, in contribution to the volume of research in this area, this paper examines the indigenous institutions of conflict resolution in traditional African societies using the Yoruba societies as reference points. Specifically focussing on Ipetu-ljesa community in Oriade Local Government area of Osun State, Nigeria, the paper x-rays the role of the indigenous institutions of conflict resolution in Africa, the challenges they face in contemporary times as well as possible ways of engaging this model for conflict resolution in African societies.

Article Details

How to Cite
Oladipo , I. E. (2022). Traditional Institutions and Conflict Resolution in Contemporary Africa. African Journal of Stability & Development, 14(1&2), 224-244.


Appadorai A. 2000. The Substance of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bar-Tal, D., & Bennink, G. H. 2004. The Nature of reconciliation as an outcome and
as a process. From conflict resolution to reconciliation. New York, Oxford
Beall, J., & Ngonyama, M. 2009. Indigenous institutions, traditional leaders and
elite coalitions for development: The case of Greater Durban, South Africa.
London: Crisis State Research Centre.
Best, S.G. 2011. Method of conflict resolution and transformation. In SG Best
(eds.), Introduction to peace and conflict studies in West Africa. Ibadan:
Spectrum Books Limited.
Burton, J.W. 1988. Conflict resolution as a political system. Virginia: Fairfax
Ebijuwa, Temisan. 2007. Plural values, values construction and social solidarity in
Africa. Prajñâ Vihâra: Journal of Philosophy and Religion 8. 2.
Fájána, A. 1968. Age group in Yoruba traditional society. Nigeria Magazine, 98.
Fisher, F.M., & Huber-Lee, A. T. 2011. The value of water: Optimising models for
sustainable management, infrastructure planning, and conflict
resolution. Desalination and Water Treatment, 31(1-3), 1-23.
Heywood A. 2007. Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hogson G.M. 2006. What are institutions? Journal of Economic Issues. Vol XI, No.
Kleiboer, M. 1996. Understanding success and failure of international mediation.
Journal of Conflict Resolution 40.2, 360–389.
Miles, W. F., & Vaughan, O. 2003. A horse, a chief and a political anthropologist:
indigenous politics, conflict resolution and globalisation in Niger. Indigenous
Political Structures and Governance in Africa. Ibadan: Sefer Books.
Mills, J. 2005. A critique of relational psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Psychology,
22(2), 155–188.
Mitchell, S.A. 1988. Relational concepts in psychoanalysis: An integration.
London: Harvard University Press.
Muluken, T. K. 2020. The role of indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms in the
pastoral community: an implication for social solidarity in Somali region, Shineli
Woreda. Open Access Library Journal, 7(2), 1-16.
Ogunjulugbe, J.O. 1993. The history of Ipetu-Ijesa. Ibadan: University Press PLC.
Olaoba, O.B. 2000. The significance of cross-examination in Yoruba traditional
jurisprudence. Ibadan: John Archers Ltd.
Olaoba, O.B. 2002. The town crier and Yoruba palace administrator through the
ages. Ibadan: John Archers Ltd.
Olaoba, O.B. 2005. Ancestral focus and the process of conflict resolution in
traditional African societies. Perspectives on peace and conflict in Africaessays. Ibadan: John Archers Ltd.
Olaoba, O.B. 2008. Yoruba Legal Culture. Ibadan: New Age Limited.
Olaoba, O.B., Anifowose, R., Yesufu, A. R., & Oyedolapo, B. D. 2010. African
traditional methods of conflict resolution. Abuja: National Open University
of Nigeria.
Ornstein, E. D., & Ganzer, C. 1997. Mitchell’s relational conflict model: an analysis
of its usefulness in clinical social work. Clinical Social Work Journal, 25(4),
Presbey, G., Struhl, K. J., & Olsen, R. 1995. The philosophical quest: a crosscultural reader. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Ringstrom, P. A. 2010. Meeting Mitchell’s challenge: a comparison of relational
psychoanalysis and intersubjective systems theory. Psychoanalytic
Dialogues, 20(2), 196-218.
Rubin, P. 2004. Reinventing the bazaar: a natural history of markets. . New York:
Tenaw, Z. T. 2016. Indigenous institutions as an alternative conflict resolution
mechanism in eastern Ethiopia: The case of the Ittu Oromo and Issa Somali
clans. African Journal on Conflict Resolution, 16(2), 85-109.
Tilley, V. 2010. The one-state solution: A breakthrough for peace in the Israeli Palestinian deadlock. University of Michigan Press.
Yakubu J.A. 2000. Conflict management techniques and alternative dispute
resolution. Ibadan: Demyaxs Ltd.
Zartman, I. W. 1989. Ripe for Resolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zartman, I. W. (Ed.). (2000). Traditional cures for modern conflicts: African conflict”
medicine”. Lynne Rienner Publishers.