Magodo Associates organised a symposium titled “Nigeria: which way Forward?”, on the 3rd of May, 2018.
The Symposium which took place at Afe Babalola Auditorium at the University of Lagos had in attendance the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who was ably represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Research), Prof. Wole Familoni.
Prof. Funso Akere, Chairman and Members Magodo Associates
Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe (A former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos); Many Secondary School Children, NYSC members and many other distinguished personalities from Town and Gown.
The Symposium was chaired by Prof. Akin Oyebode.
The Symposium had six distinguished persons who made presentations:
Dr Amos Akingba delivered a paper titled “Colonialism as the Taproot of Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) Entrenched Endemic Problems”.
Major General Ishola Williams (Rtd) delivered a paper titled “Corruption and Political Systems in Africa – Presidential, Parliamentary and Mixed Presi/Parl Systems.
Ms Ada Agina-Ude delivered a paper titled “Empowering Women and Youths Towards a New Nigeria”.
Pastor Tunde Bakare’s paper titled “Reshaping Nigeria: Structures and Processes” was delivered by Mr Femi Lawson.
Sen. Shehu Sani delivered a paper titled “Organising for Progressive Change in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Dr. Babafemi Badejo delivered a paper titled: “Towards Abhorrence for Corruption in a new Nigeria”.
From the papers presented at the symposium, it was observed that:
- The root cause of the problems in Nigeria is colonialism (both internal and external;
- People that are disinterested in the corporate existence of Nigeria are the ones governing (the incompetent are in charge of the affairs of the nation);
- Nigeria’s problems are both domestic and external engendered by the agents of global international power;
- Institutions are weak in Nigeria and these institutions cannot contain the leadership of the country;
- The current institutional arrangements do not aid accountability;
- There is continuous dichotomy between the individual and the society;
- The country is plagued with acute integrity deficiency syndrome, intellectual dependency syndrome and international donor dependency syndrome;
- Nigeria is embroiled in crises of legitimacy, capacity, identity and of purpose;
- The urban middle class are uninformed, disinterested, and disorganised and as such are responsible for the fate of the country;
- Integrity and credibility are just two of the many leadership qualities a leader needs to move a nation forward;
- Nigeria needs a visionary leader who can move the country to where it should be;
- There is a vacuum of credible opposition party as in a parliamentary system
- The Nigerian problem is best described as more of a problem of followership responsibility in selecting, electing or appointing its leadership;
- There is gender discrimination despite the fact that women involvement is inexorably linked to societal development;
- The percentage of the number of women is considered high enough to make women evolve in political decision-making in this country;
- Neither the process nor the structure of politics in the country is appropriate. The structure today cannot give room for due process in the country;
- There is no separation of power which is one of the building blocks of democracy;
- Approach to handling corruption in the country is faulty;
- Corruption is rampant at all levels and Nigerians passively allow the institutionalisation of corruption.
- Fundamental to all the obstacles that hold Nigeria hostage is the absolute lack of a credible mechanism for a uniform quality mass education. The political class including the elites are content with the Nigerian situation of endemic poverty and senseless corruption because it provides a ‘divide’- a disparity along, ethnic and religious lines.
Flowing from the observations of the papers and discussions that followed, certain resolutions were made. They include:
- There is the urgent need for the intellectuals and the intelligentsia to get involved in the political decision-making process;
- The deficient structure of Nigeria needs to be addressed. Nigerians must join the advocacy to have a properly structured true federal system with adequate devolution of powers and resources in order to move the country forward;
- Accountability within all institutions of governance must be transparently heightened starting with the Executive and legislative arms of government at all levels. This includes stopping the unconstitutional and opaque so- called security votes.
- There is need to ensures that all earnings accruing to the Government are known to the legislature and are transparently appropriated;
- The country needs a credible opposition in a parliamentary system unlike the presidential system in order to have an alternative to the government policies in addition to a government in waiting.
- There is the need for a progressive political class to come together and form a party that is ideologically based;
- There is the need to build synergy in policy, a prerequisite for political, economic and social stability within the framework of an integrated security (freedom from Fear) and development (freedom from Needs) systems;
- There is the need to implement a comprehensive strategy that addresses the three levels of corruption (individuals, institutions and structures) in the country;
- The presidency and the legislature must ensure passage of the bill envisioned to make assets declaration transparent that has been stuck in the legislature since 1999;
- There is the need for mobilisation of the citizenry against corruption in the country;
- There is the need to empower women in order to help them get to the level where they can control resources;
- Women must be empowered economically and politically to influence decision-making process;
- Strategies of increasing the collective voice of the youth to enhance their capacity through social media campaigns, peaceful protests/rallies and signature campaigns must continue to create the needed impact on polity.
- Nigeria needs a consistent policy that must be implemented by our meritorious best and brightest and clearly not the set of current sub optimal ‘leaders’ in the Education sector. Magodo Associates could champion a ‘jihad’ on qualitative education as a crucial public good.