By Fabian Ekeruche
The ‘Which Way Nigeria Citizens’ Scenarios team has organised a national dialogue to provide expert policy analysis on key sectors of the country.
The team, comprising of over 40 Nigerian Civil Society Organisations and international experts, said that the aim of the dialogue was to bolster citizens’ engagement with the forthcoming elections.
This is contained in a statement signed by Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Center of Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi, on Monday in Lagos.
Okereke, the co-initiator of the Citizens’ Scenario team, said that the dialogue was attended by Prof. Bell Ihua, Executive Director, Africa Polling Institute (API) and Prof. Afam Icha-Ituma, Vice Chancellor, Coal City University, Enugu;
He listed others as Dr Natalie Beinisch, Co-Founder/ Executive Director, Africa Circular Innovation Partnership, Mr Patrick Okigbo, Founding Partner, Nextier, Mr Osita Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation and Mr Valentine Ozigbo former Gubernatorial aspirant for Anambra State.
He quoted Okigbo as saying that the issue of security in the country needed to be addressed to boost growth and development.
Speaking on the area of security, Okigbo provided data on the various types of crisis and the need to categorise states according to the frequency of violence and the number of casualties.
“The rate of violence in Nigeria is bound to increase, and Nigeria can even implode if there are wide perceptions that the 2023 elections are unfair and stolen,” Okigbo said.
He called for improved governance and service delivery to address the worsening insecurity in the country.
Okigbo said that there was the need to fix the economic challenges, youth unemployment and criminal justice system.
“Change in political and economic realities will result in reduced incidents, casualties and humanitarian needs,” he said.
Dr Natalie Beinisch said that inflation, foreign currency controls and fuel subsidies were increasing risk and undermining business productivity.
Beinisch said that structural challenges, access to energy and ‘japa’ were choking business growth.
She said that that lack of confidence in Nigeria’s public institutions was leading to substantial capital flight.
She argued that to increase business confidence, the incoming administration should consider appointing reputable technocrats to key administrative positions.
Speaking on the state of education in the country, Prof. Afam Icha-Ituma said that there had been an improved ranking of the Nigerian universities from five universities in the previous year to 12 universities in the top band in 2023.
Icha-Ituma also decried massive exodus of top talents from the university system to foreign countries for greener pasture.
“If we must develop an education system that will lead us to green land, we must pay attention to access, quality and relevance of our actions,” Icha-Ituma said.
He also called on TETFund to expand its funding to private universities.
Responding to the experts’ analyses, Ozigbo, said it was important to address the problem of lack of leadership in the country.
He said that it was vital to change the political culture of the country to emphasise competence and character rather than ethnicity and money in choosing leaders.
“If we must solve the myriads of challenges in Nigeria, there are three things we need to prioritise as a country to experience growth – leadership, culture and competence,” Ozigbo said.
In his response, Chidoka emphasised the importance of building institutions rather than focusing on finding a “good man” leader.
“For the 2023 election, we need a leader that can bring the National Assembly together to make the government accountable and work with the executive to address the myriad of challenges facing the country,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma