The Africa policy conversations is a platform devised to help find solutions to problems that affect Africa.
The Africa Policy Conversations with the theme: “Inclusive Governance: A Panacea for Nation Building”, took place on Friday at Ventures Park, Maitama, Abuja.
This year’s event was the third edition of this organization’s remarkable exercise. It was an interactive session between the audience and notable panellists such as Phillip Chukwuma Ejiogu, a member of the Imo State House of Assembly; Amara Nwankpa, Director of Public Policy Initiative Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation; Somkele Awa-Kalu, Special Assistant to the President on Research; Ibrahim Bala Hassan, a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly.
The event sparked excitement when Ms Jackie Ugokwe, a Trustee of the Africa Policy Conversations and a public affairs analyst stepped up to the stage to shed more light on the panel. She emphasized the need to first take a stand for effective policies and then stand up to foster its implementation. She was later joined by Mr Amara, who also talked about policy development and the importance of both the private sector and civil society groups for inclusive governance. He went on to add that there should be a consensus in the equality of the voices of Nigerians. Questions like what do we want and what do we need were asked, noting that they are positive steps to a consensus.
The panellist then addressed the issue of identity: the state of origin clause and its divisive effect in Nigeria today.
They all stressed the actuality that the identity of every Nigerian is Nigeria as a nation and not the different states of origin of the citizens.
In an interview with Ms Jackie Ugokwe, she expressed her view that to solve Nigeria’s problems, we need to, first of all, identify the problems and then proffer solutions. She is of the view that it is never too late for changes to be made and that it’s all about the drive and the sustainability and getting to a point of redemption. While talking about her journey as a tech policy consultant and a public affairs analyst, she maintained the outlook that consistency is key to problem-solving.
I also had a conversation with Hon. Phillip Ejiogu, where he talked about how it feels to be a youth in the Imo State government. He stated that although it feels exciting, it comes with a lot of pressure. He highlighted the fact that competence is a key detail in selecting youths as leaders and we should assent to that. He added that there is a difference between youths inclusion and inclusion of competent youths and the misguided young minds are worse than tired old minds.
Later on, I had the privilege to talk to the Director of Public Policy Initiative at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation, Mr Amara Nwankpa, where he noted that the mass of the country’s electorate is the youths. He specified the need for youths to have a say regardless of the cultural hurdle of age. In his words: ‘It takes time, but it is a continuous process and more time is needed.’
This event was truly a notable discovery. The opinions gathered so far are pragmatic and uplifting, I hope these conversations would arise more often as solutions are being administered.
The takeaway from this event is that inclusive governance is perhaps more favourable to the citizenry at large and one thing we should understand is that time is essential to development.
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