By Fortune Abang
The Africa Polling Institute (API), an NGO, has stressed the need for Federal Government to establish a National Cohesion Commission, to foster inclusive governance in the country.
The Executive Director of API, Prof. Bell Ihua, made the call in August 2021, executive-summary report of the Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey by the Institute with support of Ford-Foundation in Abuja on Monday.
He defined the study to be a National Citizens Perception Survey by API sought to develop, index and measure citizens’ perception with regards to the state of social cohesion in Nigeria.
According to him, the first survey was conducted in 2019 and the 2021 study is apt to examine social cohesion in relation to conversation bordering Nigeria’s unity, stability, progress and peaceful coexistence.
“Social cohesion is imperative for government to operate successfully and the absence of social cohesion may threaten the peaceful co-existence of citizens.
“There is the need for government to create a National Cohesion Commission, one with the crucial responsibility for ensuring that all policies and activities of government have components within them,” he said.
According to him, the components that create a sense of belonging promotes trust, fosters inclusive governance, and continuously offer citizens opportunities for upward mobility.
“The government should also instruct public sector institutions to develop a social cohesion framework for public service delivery.
“There is the need to forge a new national movement for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“One which inhibits tendencies that cause conflicts, division but promotes unity, oneness and peaceful co-existence amongst citizens,” he said.
He urged the media practitioners in the country to play key roles in shaping the narratives that promote social cohesion and inclusion to achieve the desired goals.
He mentioned that government at all levels could identify strategic measures to promote social cohesion, peaceful inter-relations and a stronger social contract between the government and the governed at all levels.
“This can be achieved through institutional reforms targeted at promoting respect for fundamental human rights of citizens, press freedom, civil society, and the judiciary, which promote good governance at all levels.
“These are considered pertinent to address other prevailing socio-economic issues hindering the functionality of those living below the poverty line and citizens of higher socio-economic demography,” he added.
He reiterated that Nigerians must always participate in community dialogues, civil engagements and initiatives that seek to promote cohesion and discuss the future of Nigeria.
He, however, said that such dialogue centered on ways to build an egalitarian society is key.
The API executive director, said that the responsibility of building a strong, prosperous and socially cohesive nation lies squarely on citizens’ (NAN)