By Chimezie Godfrey
Ahead of the 2023 Election, the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) has called for resolution of contentious issues for a more united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
The President, AANI, IGP, MD Abubakar (Rtd) who made this known during the AANI Conference with the theme,”Nigeria’s National Unity in the Buildup to the 2023 General Elections” held Tuesday in Abuja noted that Nigeria, like all countries of the world, is not immune to developmental challenges.
He pointed out that Nigeria has like other nations had its own share of political, economic and social crises, occasioned by poor planning, inadequate management, lack of accountability, poor citizen participation and in particular, non implementation of robust policy frameworks and strategies to drive the critical sectors of the economy.
Abubakar therefore stressed that it was because of these challenges that the AANI has brought together stakeholders to proffer solutions ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general election.
He said,”Nigeria, like all countries of the world, is not immune to developmental challenges. Indeed we have had our own share of political, economic and social crises, occasioned by poor planning, inadequate management, lack of accountability, poor citizen participation and in particular, non implementation of robust policy frameworks and strategies to drive the critical sectors of the economy. This resulted in stunted economic growth which promoted poverty, unemployment and crimes that snowballed into insurgency, kidnappings and armed conflicts in many parts of the country. These misfortunes are threatening our unity, security, economy and all aspects of our daily lives.
“Concerned over these anomalies, AANI decided to convene this conference whose composition cuts across diverse backgrounds, to interrogate the circumstances that led to this state of affairs and proffer realistic and workable recommendations and implementation strategies for a more united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. The theme of the conference is ‘Nigeria’s National Unity in the build up to the 2023 General Elections’. As we approach the forth coming general elections, there is the urgent need to address all contentious issues and debilitating circumstances, in order to create an enabling environment for the orderly transfer of power that will deepen our democracy.
“This Conference therefore provides opportunity for stakeholders, to hold frank and dispassionate discussion on the magnitude of the challenges facing our country and participate in developing adequate recommendations and a realistic road map, for their implementation. No doubt there is an urgent need for a change of attitude and the world view of the average Nigerian, especially the elites and the political class, who have responsibility to provide effective and purposeful leadership, for the transformation of this country.
“There must be a comprehensive strategy and aggressive advocacy to stabilize the polity and promote a proactive agenda for the development of our dear country, Nigeria. We must rededicate ourselves to the ‘Project Nigeria’ and provide durable solutions to the prevailing situation in the country. This requires comprehensive planning and the enthronement of accountability, good governance and sustained advocacy throughout the country.”
The Retired IGP pointed out that the AANI and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSSO, have contributed immensely in addressing Nigeria’s developmental challenges, by engaging in research and advocacy that have proffered several recommendations and implementation strategies, on virtually all aspects of the nation’s political, social and economic lives.
“In order to deepen this process, there is the need for a policy framework for the implementation of the research findings andrecommendations from NIPSS, many of which are left to gather dust on the shelves.
“Unity and progress of any society is a collective responsibility and governments at all levels, as well as all communities, organisations and individuals, must commit to building a country of our dreams, anchored on accountability, equity, diversity and inclusion, which define our reality and heritage as a people.
“I want to assure you all, that the ideas and recommendations that will be harvested during this conference will be articulated into simple recommendations and elaborate implementation strategies for the benefit of stakeholders and relevant government agencies,” he said.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed urged Nigerians to guide their utterances and avoid behaviours capable of worsening the situation in the country.
He further advised that citizens should be careful not to allow a repeat of what happened in Rwanda that resulted to the lose so many lives.
“I want use this opportunity to thank the NIPS to intervene and to always get it right. Today, the biggest challenge we have as a country is that of national unity. I thank the institute for calling us here especially on the run up of the 2023 election.
“What happened in Rwanda in 1994 was as a result of campaign of hate. So, I want to appeal to us to lower the heat. May we never go the way of Rwanda,” he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Represented by the Chief Defence Training and Operations, Major General Yekini assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is on top of the situation, adding that very soon all the security challenges bedeviling the would be a thing of the past.
“We are on top of the situation, and very soon all these security challenges be it banditry, Boko-Haram, or kidnapping will be a thing of the past.”
The Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum represented by Dr. Bulama Gubio urged leaders to separate politics form governance..
He said,”As long as leaders do not separate politics from governance we are going to have problems in this country
“I believe that leaders should guide their utterances. All the issues raised by AANI should be supported by our leaders.
“Our preachers, which ever religion they belong should guide their utterances. Anyone who does not preach peace should be stopped no matter how highly place the person might be.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III in his remark noted that there have been series of talk shops across the country on issues of security and socio-economic challenges.
He therefore urged all stakeholders to cooperate to engender peace and unity in the country.
“Series of talk shops have been held across the country. We are still going to have more in order to bring peace and sanity to the country
“If anybody is telling you that everything is normal in Nigeria, he is telling you lies. Let us continue to talk to one another. We have to talk on diversity on diversity. I think it is important for us to know who we are. For us to be united, we must know our history,” he said .
The Sultan advised Nigerians to come together to address their challenges, adding that nobody would come from outside to the country’s problems.
The Keynote Speaker of the event, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai acknowledged the issues of national and its multi-dimentional challenges in Nigeria.
He noted that conflicts are good but the challenge in Nigeria has been the inability to manage it.
He said,” Conflicts are good , but the only bad thing is if you don’t know how to manage it. I think is where we having challenges. Part of the challenges we have in this country is that most of don’t believe in the Nigerian map.Some of us only believe it is a mere geo-graphical expression. We fail to understand that Nigeria is greater than any person, ethnic group or geo-graphical zone.
“The issue is that we don’t know how to solve our problems . If we have integration, there will be security and economic development.”