The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the starting point towards addressing myriad of problems confronting the nation is the building of an “elite consensus”.
The minister stated this on Thursday in Kaduna at a Town Hall Meeting on National Security with the theme: “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria.”
The minister stressed that the nation must build elite consensus on the security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of the country
He recalled that such elite consensus had worked in the past and could be made to work at the present by proffering solutions in order to stave off the threats to the unity of the nation
The minister noted that the general state of insecurity in the country is triggering rising call for secession as well as politicisation of ethnic and religious differences.
He said the insecurity is reflected in incidences of farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping for ransom.
He said: “Bluntly put, the insecurity and its manifestations pose a dangerous threat to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible nation.
“How did we get here and what can we do to change the narrative?
“We believe that finding a way out of the situation in which we have found ourselves requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities and leveraging on all our collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.”
Mohammed said the government decided to bring all critical stakeholders together, under a town hall meeting setting, to deliberate on the issues and possibly reach a consensus on the way forward.
He said: “We expect this town hall meeting to develop concrete, implementable resolutions, because a lot of talks and postulations had taken place with little or no requisite outcome.
“We have no doubt that with the seriousness of the issues involved, the expected contributions of a wide range of stakeholders and the quality of our panelists.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the town hall meeting was attended by Governor Nasir el’Rufai of Kaduna State; his deputy, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe; and representatives of some governors from the North-West region.
The Ministers of Defence, Bashir Magashi; Agriculture, Sabo Nanono; Environment, Muhammadu Abubakar; Police Affairs, Maigari Diginyadi, and Interior, Rauf Aregbesola as well as Minister of State, Science and Technology, Muhammed Abdullahi, attended the event.
Prof. Jubrin Ibrahim was the lead presenter at the event while other discussants included Professor Saka Nuru, Professor (Mrs) Kokunre Eghafona as well as Mrs Ibukun Awosika and Professor Chudi Uwazuruike, who joined virtually.
The Ministry of Information and Culture launched the Town Hall Meeting series in Lagos on April 25, 2016, to provide a platform for the federal government to regularly give account of its stewardship to the people.
The platform also afforded the government to get a feedback and input from the people to enhance citizens’ participation in governance.