NESG insists on dialogue to address political and economic challenges | The Guardian Nigeria News
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has highlighted the need for dialogue as a tool to address the economic and political challenges facing the country.
NESG Chairman, Mr. Asue Ighodalo gave advice during a one-day National Economic Dialogue titled: “Critical Challenges Facing the Nigerian Economy” in Abuja.
According to him, dialogue is imperative for any nation to achieve its political and economic objectives.
Ighodalo said, “It is important for us to have conversations about electing good leaders by 2023; the electoral primaries will take place in the next three weeks and this is the most important process.
“If political parties choose incompetent candidates for us, then we are saddled with complicit fate when we vote in 2023.
“It is important for us to lead the conversation and get Nigerians talking about political parties, as best we can, and each of us is talking to delegates.
“The delegates are not spirits, but among us; so we have to start conversing with them.
“We demand that when they go out to vote for their party’s candidates, they vote for the person who they are absolutely clear in their minds has the ability to do so.”
He said it had become essential in the life of the country for people to make the right choices about who would become their leader.
During the discussion, some panelists reiterated the need for citizens to engage in dialogue, as a way to address issues and problems that have hindered the political and economic growth of the nation.
Mr. Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, said the dialogue, focusing on ways to secure a better future for the country, could boost national growth.
He said such a dialogue will allow citizens to think about their future and the consequences of the choices delegates make about who will become their leader.
“The conversation should be more about choosing leaders who have the skills, character and ability to develop their leadership position.
“Part of this conversation should be about talking to captains of industry and not about funding bad leaders, unqualified candidates and political parties.
“Especially those who are bent on rigging elections, just to advance their own interest and not the public good,” Itodo said.
Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Country Director of CARE International, explained that dialogue on issues related to improving education standards can help a country achieve set goals.
According to him, education is a fundamental game-changer; specifically in the lives of women, because of the choices they have made in their married life.
“When she gets married, how she is doing for her prenatal, how many children she actually wants to have are defined by education, which is the importance of education.
“It’s a message we need to get out; what education does for us is one, it strengthens and builds our skills, which are linked to productivity, the second is to strengthen our life choices.
“Many times our conversation about education seems more transactional; I go to school, I want to have a good job, but the very idea of making life choices does not stand out strongly,” Abdu said.
Ms. Tosin Faniro-Dada, Managing Director/CEO of Endeavor Nigeria, commended the engagement of young people in the tech conversation.
He said this has contributed immensely to job creation and poverty reduction.
“SMEs provide jobs; Tech companies provide jobs; the multiplier effect creates more scalable businesses and we are talking about inclusion, creating wealth, improving lives, transforming the economy and above all prosperity.
“Small businesses, especially tech companies, can help us achieve these goals; we are working to tackle payment, logistics, commerce, supply chain advertising, pharmacies, hospitals and the digitization of the informal sector,” Faniro-Dada said.
Mr. Ari Aisen, Resident Representative of the IMF in Nigeria, urged the Federal Government to deepen with relevant development partners, to avail of financial support where needed.
Aisen said, “The right economic policies must be developed and the IMF will be able to help and support the government to build on the policy and advise our member countries, to have programs with us.”
Professor Osita Ogbu, Professor of Economics/Director, Institute of Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsuka, called for adequate investment in the education sector to promote knowledge sharing.
“We have to take education seriously, you can’t say students don’t have to pay, then you can’t pay, you can’t say you don’t have money, then you create more universities.
“We have a responsibility to produce graduates who will teach at these universities and we know how time-consuming and difficult it is to produce such people,” Ogbu said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, senior partner at the law firm Olisa Agbakoba, stressed the need for proper investment in the maritime sector, to drive economic growth.
“Nigeria is not broke, we have N17trn, that is nothing for a national budget; if you look at the national development plan, the maritime sector is completely omitted.
“If only the Apapa port located in Lagos were efficient, it would generate 20 billion naira per day, or 7 naira. 3 billion a year and that can erase the so-called deficit from our national budget,” he said.