“Nation-building is based on elite consensus. There may be divergent views but unless we agree as to how to govern this space, we could be going round and round in circles.” – Osinbajo
Nigeria’s size with the sheer economic power of such a huge population makes the proposition of one Nigeria attractive, according to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
“Whoever it is that wants to go his own way will find that our size is why we are an attractive proposition,” the Vice President said earlier today at the 13th annual Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja titled 50 Years After 1966: Is Nigeria Rising?
The Vice President said Nigeria’s size is not just formidable in the African continent, but also globally.
Continuing, he said “our country has the potential not just to be the giant of Africa, but a major economic giant in the world,” adding that it is that giant of a nation that the Nigerian elites have a duty to deliver.
According to him the size of Lagos State alone is larger in terms of economy than several African countries, submitting that Nigeria is better staying together and maintaining our unity.
Addressing the question proposed in the title of the Dialogue, Prof. Osinbajo said “there is no question at all; our country is rising despite all challenges”. He noted however that “in the history of nations everywhere there is the question of elite consensus.”
He noted that the elites must agree that a group or nation must be built, adding that the duty is not that of political elites alone, but religious, professional and traditional elites as well. It is such a consensus that he says has eluded the nation over the years. “This is why despite all we have done it does appear that we are moving in circles.”
Said he: “Nation-building is based on elite consensus. There may be divergent views but unless we agree as to how to govern this space, we could be going round and round in circles.”
Furthermore, the VP observed that a country may have good policies but the important thing is the capacity to implement those policies, adding that there is the need for instance to have a legal system where equity and justice is dispensed within a reasonable timeframe and a system where no one is above the law.
He explained that based on the level of avarice, greed and corruption that has been discovered, if oil was selling for $200 per barrel, Nigeria would have still ended up in an economic mess. But assuring the nation of a better future going forward, the Vice President restated that President Muhammadu Buhari and himself are both committed to building a great Nigeria, and develop the needed capacity.
“I can say on behalf of the president and myself that we have no desire to be wealthier than we already are, that our only desire now is to improve the lot of the country and make it greater.”
Clarifying that the reason for the social investments proposed to cost half a trillion in the 2016 Budget was not just about compassion, he said “if we don’t (make such social investments) we are merely waiting for doomsday.”
Other speakers at the Dialogue were former Chief of Defense Staff, General Martin Agwai, the Nigerian Representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Dr. Mairo Mandara and former CBN Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo. One time Head of the Federal Civil Service, Alhaji Adamu Fika, presided over the Dialogue hosted by executives of Daily Trust Newspapers.
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