Land and chieftaincy disputes have been cited as the immediate causes of war in all these cases. Beyond land and chieftaincy, however, it is perceptible that these inter and intra-ethnic competition for power and resources reflect deeper conflicts over right of citizenship of whole ethnic groups. This affects the right to equitable access to, and participation in political processes and other fora of public decision-making in the conflict areas. And these communal conflicts have persisted in large part because the concept of co-citizenship of a common geopolitical space has not taken root among the 30 odd ethnic groups indigenous to the three regions.
Since colonial times, there has been very little or no effort made to help these groups, who have different historical, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, as well as interests and world views to construct for themselves a common identity. As such most communities in the north have not internalized the concept of citizenship of a common area (state, region, district or even town). In many cases, ethnicity affiliations are the defining line for co-citizenship of a common political space.
Many communities do not seem to have a shared destiny that would serve as the basis for defining mutually accepted ground rules for peaceful coexistence. Few have any common vision or collective visions for the development of the common spaces in their communities, districts and/or regions. This is because there are very few opportunities for the various ethnic groups coexisting in the same areas to define collective responsibilities for creating public goods and services for the common good. In many places the requisite institutions and mechanisms of governance (such as the chiefs, the local government structures, the justice system, among others) that are supposed to regulate private participation to ensure that private gain is not at the expense of the common good do not address cross-ethnic interactions; neither do they provide avenues for effective representation of the diversity of interests and aspirations of the people they profess to serve. On the contrary these institutions and structures have often become the arenas of inter-ethnic and/or intra-ethnic factional competitions, as various groups struggle to exclude one another from political and/or economic participation of members of their respective opponent groups.