-By Emma’Enenche Umele
As the state of affairs in the country continues to worry citizens, a cross section of Nigerians, mostly youths, have been engaged in a dialogue on how governance can be used to achieve a secure, peaceful , united and prosperous Nigeria.
The occasion was the Abuja 2019 National Edition of The Nigeria Conversation with the theme, “Towards a Peaceful, United, Secured and Prosperous Nation”.
The conversation drew Nigerians from all strata of society and provided room for a thorough examination of the missing link in the system.
Addressing the gathering at the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja via video, former secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations, Dr. Emeka Anyaoku, called for restructuring of the country to bring about lasting peace and development.
Anyaoku asserted that the creeping insecurity and wanton destruction of lives and property were deeply rooted in bad governance and distortion in the structure of federalism in the country. He recommended that federating units be given enough power to curb the myriads of problems bedeviling the country lamenting that people of his generation, who had benefited most from the country, were responsible for its current sorry state. The elder statesman said the discourse fortifies his optimism for a more secure, united and development-oriented country.
Making her inputs, the first public relations officer of the National Council of Women Society (NCWS), Mrs. Safiya Ibrahim, stressing her belief in action rather than workshop, called for a ballot revolution by Nigerian women and youths to take ownership of the country’s democracy.
Safiya, one of the youngest delegates at the 2014 Confab conducted by the Jonathan administration, spoke of the phenomenon of god-motherism and how legends like Hajia Gambo Sawaba helped mentor young women to positions of responsibility. She urged young girls to make sacrifices that would see them through the mentoring process. She called on the minister of Women Affairs to immediately form a taskforce of agile, strong-willed women to achieve 50-50 affirmative action for women.
Also contributing, founder of Equity Advocates and The Woman Today newspaper, MsEne Ede, noting that too many people are pursuing too many things, stressed it is important that the discourse on how to improve Nigeria continues to save young people the agony of old age, destitution and other ills.
Dorn Cklaimz of Think Nigeria described good governance as “good conscience” admitting that most youths, like himself, had contributed to the current mess in the system as they had compromised for the sake of minor financial gains. He recommended that the process of good governance should begin from individual hearts and homes.
A teenage contributor, Muhammad Ahmad Yahaya representing the Coalition of Youths for the Promotion of Children’s Rights (COYPCR) lamented the non-inclusion of youths in governance and decried the plethora of elusive “VISIONS 2010, 2020 and 2030” which have not delivered on the promises they were set to achieve. He recommended regular town hall meetings in the 776 local government areas in the country to forge a synergy between Nigeria and Nigerians.
A returnee from the diaspora Ms. Ola Kayode complained bitterly of the neglect of returnees and called for concrete schemes to support the dreams and aspirations of returnees.
Ms Ifeoma Chineye Onuike of Enhancement Modules for Best Legacies and Essentials Reformation (EMBLER), called for financial empowerment of youths as, “without financial responsibility there will be no social responsibility”. Presenting herself as one of the youths willing to be mentored, she urged youths to embrace volunteer services in organisations.
Chairman, Disability Co-operative, Mr. Salihu Sale, who spoke for the Association of People Living with Disability, called on various organisations to recognize and respect the rights of PLWDs by giving them their due quota as fellow citizens of the country.
Responding to issues raised, chairman of Nigeria Conversation and country director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Nigeria, Mr Blackson Olaseni Bayewumi assured that their proposals and recommendations would be presented to relevant authorities for onward consideration to guide the formulation and implementation of government policies and programmes.
The national conversation took place at the Main Auditorium of the ECOWAS Commission Headquarters, Abuja.
Focus was on a government of inclusion covering women and youth development, good governance, trade, investments and job creation, national security of lives and properties, peace and unity and message was that a better Nigeria can evolve with individuals, groups, communities, governments contributing from their corners.
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