By Henry Uche
Worried by the myriads of problems besetting Nigeria in recent time, an advocate for good governance and quality leadership, Rebuild Nigeria Initiative (RNI) and other concerned citizens are calling for mutual understanding, tolerance and Peace among Nigerians as basis for national growth and development.
They made this call recently in Lagos at a session tagged “Dialogue With Corporate Nigeria” where they emphatically affirmed that peace and stability in any country is directly connected with economic growth, hence the need for everyone to promote peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect for diversities.
Speaking at the event, the president of the Initiative, Ituah Ighodalo, who expressed sadness over the agonies and anguish Nigerians are currently passing through, said -it’s high time political leaders across board swallowed the bitter pill and stopped misleading the people.
Ighodalo who is the senior Pastor at Trinity House, called on all Nigerians particularly the leaders (who have the interest of the country at heart) to indeed show altruism and patriotism in their respective endeavours, by doing that which would engender socio-economic and political progress as divinity demands.
He noted that when people know that a call to leadership is a call to serve humanity by obeying divine mandates, then leaders would not work against the people they lead. He reminded Nigeria leaders that ‘Righteousness exalts nation and the people rejoice when the righteous rules.’
“Nigeria is at a crossroads. Its fortunes have continued to decline with negative impact on its citizens’ lives. Decades of poor governance and endemic corruption have worsened the standard of living of Nigerians.
“Agitations from all sections of the country are escalating with worsening economic and human development indicators. These situations threaten previous progress in building national cohesion, maintaining political stability, the emergence of the middle class, and sustaining economic development. We must check the slippery slide, else the future is imperiled,”
He assured that RNI would continue to pursue its mission to “Accelerate progress towards a new Nigeria where the rights and wellbeing of its citizens are upheld” and vision for “A New Nigeria, United, Equitable, Just and Inclusive – A Nation at Peace”.
“We firmly believe that a fair just and equitable society is central to creating shared values and a sense of belonging for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity, tribe or religion. These values are a recipe for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. We can through our grit and strong determination, stayed this course and changed this country. We believe that Nigeria can be restored or even surpass its original glory and that our vision for the country is achievable, if we all play our part, no matter how small, to help solve the problems,”
Pastor Ituah further stated that efforts put in by RNI and other concerned groups to see a new Nigeria birthed even as Nigeria prepares for another general elections, would undoubtedly foster national restructuring and reconciliation as well as promote standard leadership. He urged Nigerians to sit up and act wisely regarding the coming elections while his group would continue to advocate for good governance and accountability.
“RNI is inspired by the strong conviction that throughout history, meaningful change was brought about by men and women who refused to be spectators of human suffering and injustice but stood up and acted. They changed their society and the world. We learn not just from their strength, but their resilience in the face of tremendous difficulties, great adversity, and personal suffering.
“We shall continue to engage all parties in meaningful dialogue that can bring about constructive and peaceful resolutions and actions that foster unity, peace, progress, and advancement of our great nation, Nigeria, in line with our mandate. We shall not give up on Nigerian, it must get better for everyone,” he asseverated.
He added that RIN has embarked on four strategic goals thus: To facilitate national peace dialogue, saying, “We believe that facilitating peace dialogues at sub-national, national and international levels reinforces the importance of peace as a cornerstone of civil wellbeing, security, politics and socioeconomic prosperity. We plan to foster this between aggrieved groups to bridge divides and promote the sovereignty of One Nigeria, with values such as diversity, fairness, equity, justice, and inclusion upheld by all,”
The second goal according to him was to foster national restructure and reconciliation. He stressed, “We believe that promoting and ensuring national reconciliation in all segments will help forestall new conflicts and de-escalate old ones in the country. Since national restructure and reconciliation are vital ingredients towards rebuilding Nigeria, we will, through our activities and programmes, foster their entrenchment into national discourse,”
More so, he posited that RNI seeks to define and promote standards in leadership. He confirmed therefore, “We believe that the Nigerian political governance structure is due for transformation in such a way that the best minds and hands can get involved in running the day-to-day activities of the country in a way that satisfies the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. We will ensure that public discourse on leadership is shaped and dominated by new standards in leadership defined by a better enlightened and conscious populace,”
Similarly, he avowed that advocacy for good governance & accountability is key for them. “We believe that advocating for good governance and accountability is an important step towards rebuilding Nigeria. Accountability provides a very important role in creating good governance as a part of improving public confidence in leadership performance.
“RNI plans to actively contribute to the advent of a new Nigeria by investing in understanding the core issues driving socio-political conflicts around Nigeria; catalysing grassroots led trust-building; facilitating problem-solving peace dialogues; and establishing a peace treaty, because we hold strongly that dialogue is about “listening, sharing, and questioning. To this end, we have structured our interventions and activities into four strategic clusters: Corporate Cluster; Fourth Estate Cluster; Advocacy Cluster and Faith Cluster, where we shall engage the corporate world, the media, NGOs/Civil Society Organizations as well as cultural and religious bodies as we journey through. We will embed a message of the spirit of patriotism in all our engagements across the four strategic clusters,” he proclaimed.
On his part, the president of African Enterprise Institute, Nicolas Okere, urged Nigerians to develop a new but positive perception about themselves and begin to take themselves seriously, so that others would take them serious.
Nicolas decried the heightened level of insecurity, unstable power supply, poor water and other endemic problems ravaging Nigeria, saying, “It is unfortunate we found ourselves in these mess, but we (you & I) can change the ugly narrative. We must elect qualified and viable leaders, so as to achieve a better result for the country,” he urged.
Also, the Vice President Nigeria- British Chamber of Commerce, Mr Ray Atemi added that no nation stumbles into economic growth without adequate planning. He emphasized the need for government to have viable and feasible Plans of the economy that would promote security of life and property which engenders socioeconomic progress.
Mr. Ray however, expressed regrets as the high rate of insecurity in the country has turned away many foreign investors from Nigeria. He called on the government to address the problem of insecurity immediately to secure the unborn generation. “The government must as a matter of priority address insecurity else, investors would keep moving to safer climes” he maintained.
More so, an academic, Professor Path Utomi who spoke via zoom, gave a historical analysis of economic policy formulation in Nigeria, noted that there has always been problem of unstable policy formulation in Nigeria as well as it’s implementation.
He however advised the government to ensure that restructuring starts with viable economic policies which will enhance economic growth and development in Nigeria. “Restructuring begins with sound economic policies formulation and workable implementation strategies, with the political Will to execute,” he maintained.