Okwe Obi, Abuja
There was pandemonium as fire almost razed a section of Barcelona Hotel, Abuja, where a meeting organised by African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), was ongoing, forcing participants to flee.
Our correspondent gathered that the cause of the incident was a wrong connection from the socket connecting an air-conditioner. It took the intervention of the participants to put out the fire with fire extinguishers before some staffers showed up. Nobody was hurt.
Efforts to get the management’s reaction were futile as the front desk officer refused to comment on the matter. After about 20 minutes, a hall was provided.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of AUDA-NEPAD Princess Gloria Akobundu said the meeting, otherwise called The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), was set up to enable Nigerians to brainstorm on how to address some challenges like mental illness, gender inequality and bad governance, plaguing the country.
Akobundu explained that participants would further look at thematic areas like democracy and political governance, economic management, corporate governance and socio-economic development, adding that the outcome would be documented and sent to the African Union.
“This is a consultative meeting and interactions with citizens of Nigeria. It is to gather an assessment report of where we were, where we are and where we want to be.
“It is a welcome development where citizens will come up with his or her own opinion and knowledge to add value to the country. It is inclusive governance which is the vision of the present administration.
“Every citizen is very important and every opinion counts. Mind you, everything is not bad in Nigeria; we have a lot of good history to consolidate. That is how to move forward,” she said.
She urged Nigerians to pray rather than rain abuses on political leaders, stressing that every country has its problem.
“Every country in the world has a challenge. But the ability to foster solution makes it a great nation. If we do not identify the problems, how do we solve it? We must think about the values our parents applied to better the society. We should not be abusing our leaders; we should guide, pray for our leaders and give them time to implement good policies,” she stated.