Delegates at the National Conference on Tuesday continued discussions on President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech at the inauguration of the conference and pledged to build a better Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the delegates, who took turns to discuss the speech, agreed with the president that Nigeria is confronted by many challenges.
They, however, pledged to do everything possible to ensure that the conference provided appropriate solutions to the challenges confronting the nation.
Bishop Felix Ajakaiye, representing the South-West, said there was a need to evolve a government that was truly representative.
“Good governance is about the people. We can’t continue blaming the British after 100 years, we have the opportunity to change it now.
“We say power belongs to the people but the same people are harassed daily. We should realise that the power of the people is greater than the people in power”, he said.
Mr Olaniwun Ajayi, another delegate from the South-West, said the conference was necessary to avoid the worst from happening in the country.
“I believe the intention behind the conference is to see that the worst is prevented from happening and we should try to see to it that the best is our lot in this country”.
Hajia Amuna Ali, who represents retired civil servants, urged elderly delegates to be rational, truthful and courageous in addressing the problems of the country so as to fashion out appropriate solutions.
“To the elders in this conference, I urge you that we should plant the trees that will provide shade for the next generation; let us truly re-launch Nigeria for our future”, she said.
Isa Ajiya, representing Association of Speakers, urged delegates to use the conference as an opportunity to re-launch the country and write their names in gold.
“There are so many things that are not working in this country like education, health, and so many others but we have an opportunity now to make it work.”
Chief Onikepo Akande, representing Oyo State, expressed concern about the rising youth unemployment and the recently aborted immigration recruitment.
“There are so many unemployed and unemployable youths. There should be skills acquisition centres to train people. Employment generation and poverty alleviation should be at the forefront of this conference”.
Mrs Victoria Akanwa, representing Abia, called for justice, equality and fairness among all the sections and zones of the country, saying: “No section or zone of the country should override the other”.
Mr Anthony Akika said the conference was an opportunity for the delegates to build trust and confidence that would cement the bond of unity of the country.
“In many countries, lack of trust and confidence, lack of national dialogue have caused a lot of problems, like South Sudan, DRC, Ukraine, where dialogue has failed”, he said.
Mrs Abiola Akiyode, representing the Civil Society, said the constitution had systematically excluded the vast majority of the people but that the conference was an opportunity to write a “People’s Constitution”.
Mrs Brenda Akpan, representing women’s groups, called for inclusiveness of the youth, Persons Living with Disability and women in the affairs of the country.
“We need this conference to create an enabling environment for active participation of youth, women, children and Persons Living with Disability in all aspects of our national life”.
On his part, Mr Steve Aluko, representing Civil Society, challenged the delegates to move beyond lamentations and find workable solutions to the problems of the country.
“We must go beyond lamentation to find solution. What will make this conference honourable or distinguished is what comes out of it”, he said.
Thirty-nine delegates spoke on the president’s speech on Monday, while about 60 delegates spoke on it on Tuesday. (NAN)