The Future Project hosted stakeholders at the fifth edition of The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders on Friday, 12 July, 2019. The event highlighted the importance of relatable government policies and effective implementation as a foundation for national socio-economic transformation and global competitiveness.
Themed, ‘Turning the Curve: Aligning government policies to our Realities’, the event took place on Friday, July 12, 2019, at the Agip Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos, with notable personalities such as ex-transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi; former presidential candidate of KOWA Party, Prof. Remi Sonaiya; SSA to the President on Social Investment, Ismael Ahmed; and FBNQuest Merchant Bank economist, Chinwe Egwim speaking in separate panel sessions.
Focusing on accountability, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi said that “the problem with Nigeria is that there are no consequences for people’s action. Nobody holds politicians accountable for their policies. China lifted over 800 million people out of poverty in 15 years, so our politicians need to indicate how they intend to lift Nigerians out of poverty.”
Participating in the third panel session which also featured Prof. Sonaiya, Amaechi stated that he is not bothered by attacks against his personality on social media as he maintains no presence on any of the platforms.
While speaking on citizen participation, Prof. Sonaiya said, “We have to educate ourselves in order to become more active, and we have to begin to consider the greater good in our decisions.
“Most of us don’t care about what is happening in the House of Assembly. We are much more concerned about ourselves. The focus has to be on the people, not the government. But we as the people also have to make sure that we hold our leaders accountable. There’s too much personal style in the way we practice politics in the country,” added Prof. Sonaiya.
Explaining the attitude of citizens towards police brutality, rapper Michael ‘Ruggedman’ Ugochukwu said, “Nigerians need to start asking questions whenever they notice that things are not right. Whenever we see a fellow Nigerian suffering violence, we should stop ignoring this or just walk by. Who are you? Why can’t we identify you with your uniform? Why are you using an unregistered public bus? There has to be a right way to do things. We need to start holding our politicians accountable. How many people have been arrested for embezzling public funds?”
Calling for a national restructuring at the first session, Leonard Ebute, COO, Crest-Agro Products, said that there are several leaders and groups who benefit from the current insecurity in the country. He added that it is time for Nigerians to be more realistic and call out anyone holding the nation to ransom.
On her part, Chinwe Egwim stated that for effective policy implementation in Nigeria, there has to be synergy in government ministries, while former commissioner of finance in Cross River State, Asuquo Ekpenyong called for total government transparency.
Other personalities who spoke at the Symposium are Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama (Rtd.); Deputy National Organizing Secretary, Middlebelt Forum, Ndi Kato; ex-DSS Assistant Director, Dennis Amachree; and Country Officer and Head of Nigeria office of the Open Society Initiative, Jude Ilo.
The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders 2019 was organized by The Future Project in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.