Mr Blackson Bayewumi, Country Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Nigeria, has underscored the need for constant dialogue between Nigerian citizens and their elected officials to engender national growth.
Bayewumi, also Chairman of Nigeria Conversation, a non-governmental organisation, gave the advice in his address at the 2019 national edition of the “Nigeria Conversation” in Abuja.
Nigeria Conversation is a citizenship mainstreaming initiative which engages Nigerians both at home and abroad in the discussion on nation-building processes and the need for all-round development of the country.
Bayewumi said, “The present democracy we are practising is the representative type.
“After electing leaders we must not abandon them. We must be part of the decision-making and governance processes to achieve targets.
“We can achieve that through constructive engagement using dialogue not hate speeches.
“We must engage ourselves because we know our challenges, and we must find ways to address them.”
Speaking, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said that the conversation initiative was in line with the ministry’s philosophy on an exchange of ideas on achievements in Nigeria.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mrs Priscilla Ihuoma, Director of Public Communication and National Orientation in the ministry, described as apt, the theme of the event entitled “Towards a peaceful, united, secure and prosperous nation”.
According to him, it is expected that this will enhance the partnership for sustainable national development.
“As a philosophical plank of constructive engagement with Nigerians and significant stakeholders, the Nigeria conversation forum should project the positive image of Nigerians.
“It should draw goodwill to the country from the international community.
“As laudable as it is, it must be an added mileage to the building story of our nation,” Mohammed said.
Also speaking, Nigeria’s representative in ECOWAS, Amb. Babatunde Nurudeen described peace as panacea not just for driving development, but for sustaining Nigeria’s democracy.
According to Nurudeen, who was also represented by Mr Adeyemi Adewale, a staff of the ECOWAS Commission, peace and unity are important concepts linked together to achieve security and development in the society.
“Therefore, considering the efforts of Nigeria in strengthening security capacity, there is also a need to ensure human security by providing comprehensive security approaches for the citizens of the country.
“This will complement other laudable frameworks, to achieve peace in our society,” he said.
The event featured panel discussions on peace and security, youth and women development, trade and investment, job and wealth creation.