Pioneer Chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Prof. Anya O. Anya and Chairman of Access Bank, Mrs Dere Awosika, are expected to headline next week’s Citizen’s Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security.
The summit organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), President of the organisation, Mallam Muktar Sirajo, said, is a product of research conducted by the governing council of the institute to identify factors responsible for current ‘sad and unfortunate developments in the country. In a briefing in Abuja yesterday, Sirajo stated that the outcome revealed a widening trust deficit between government and the citizens, among the various ethnic and sociology cultural groups, and among the citizens. The NIPR chief stated that these have tended to weaken the fabrics of Nigeria’s unity, revealing that the research further showed a collapse of core national values, citizens despondency and apathy on issues of national development.
“Today, it is common knowledge that relationships amongst our people are not what they used to be; mutual suspicion and antagonism seem to have taken over the place of our once beautiful and relatively peaceful coexistence that was least influenced by ethno-religious and other primordial differences. “Realising that at the core of the mandate of the public relations profession is the birthing and sustenance of mutually beneficial relationships and mending them where they crack or even break down, the institute came to the conclusion that our beloved country, Nigeria, needs more than a shot in the arm in this regard. No nation thrives and progresses in an atmosphere of distrust,” he noted.
The organisation, Sirajo added, recognises trust as a key element in nation-building and the role of dialogue in societal well-being and development, and has decided to take up the challenge of rebuilding the broken trust through reopening channels of effective dialogue. According to him, there is a need to entrench a culture of social justice for national integration and sustainable peace and to develop a new communication culture and thrust for Nigeria.
“ There is need for effective national mediation, reconciliation and investment in peace building for national integration. There is need to reengage and include the Nigerian youths, women, and people with disabilities in leadership and governance.
“There is need to strive for balance, equity, fairness, and justice as our way of life. These are part of what this summit intends to achieve,” he said.
Sirajo stressed that for the country to move forward, Nigeria must change the paradigm on how we engage the citizens and the techniques of dialogue, adding that the government must learn modern art of citizens engagement.
“The summit will address at the plenary, issues such as – Nigeria: Where we missed it, the need to rethink; it will also look into the path to reinventing our nationhood; rebuilding trust and enabling the culture and practice of non-violent communication.
“The whole idea of the summit is to activate the process of rebuilding a new Nigeria that works, based on raising the new Nigerians that will build the new Nigeria. A nation that will be governed by strong national values that promote oneness and equity among the diverse people of the country.
“It is also important to state that we are not in this alone; the institute is undertaking this project in collaboration with 70 other organisations, who share same vision and hope of a greater Nigeria,” he said.
Other speakers expected on the occasion include: Chief Audu Ogbe, Mrs. Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Mr. JJ Omojuwa, amongst others.