By Bukola Kayode
Civil Society Organisations converged in Abuja on Thursday to dialogue on critical issues affecting the country.
The inaugural edition of the monthly parley organized by Development Specs Academy, Abuja, had as its focus, the state of the nation, covering security, growing citizen apathy and the need to work towards inclusiveness and greater national cohesion. Challenges youths face with regard to levels of capacity, opportunities and being confronted with negative role models and the danger of fake news, unverified and correct statements taken out of context as also debated.
Thursday’s roundtable also had its one of its major topics, the need for voters especially young people to scrutinize aspirants to various offices, even as the rights of individuals to aspire to offices must be respected within the context of debating their fitness for public office.
Major takeaways from the dialogue moderated by the Executive-Director of Development Specs Academy, Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, include the agreement on the importance of informed commentary on national issues, the need to encourage non-violent expression of interests by Nigerians, particularly the youth on national issue. Increased productivity as the major driver of the Naira was also dissected.
Other highlights from the dialogue was the call on youths to make informed, non-violent interventions on key issues with clear goals of national development and sustainable social order. This is as attendees discussed how critical it is for active participation of citizens through informed and conflict-sensitive commentary on national issues on social media platforms.
Speaking at the roundtable, ace broadcast journalist, Amaechi Anakwe called on Nigerians to fully participate in lawmaking process as well as the formulation of policies.
He opined that the citizenry will record better outcomes when they get involved in the formulation of policies and the enactment of laws from the beginning of the process.
He said: “Don’t wait till the deed has been done. Start from the onset, perhaps you want to organize on your on and cross fertilise ideas. Let’s take Federal Government annual budget as an example. Do you have a copy of the budget? Do you show interest in the annual budget?
“You say it is the business of the National Assembly to look into the budget, but the budget is your life, so you must show interest. You can show interest using groups and different platforms to engage and make input. It is only then that the projects you desire, the programmes you desire will be included in the budget. Don’t wait for the food to be cooked before you complain that it is not sweet or that it doesn’t taste of ‘maggi’.