Ex-Commonwealth Secretary Anyaoku Urges Politician To Focus On Insecurity Instead Of
Secretary Anyaoku Urges Politician To Focus On Insecurity Instead Of 2015. Government and politicians should Focus on the security challenges and other issues affecting Nigerians rather than dissipate energy on the 2015 elections, former Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaoku advised yesterday.
Allowing 2015 to dominate national discourse now, he said, will only confirm the view that Nigerian politicians are only interested in self-aggrandisement.
Anyaoku spoke as Chairman at the Democracy Day National Symposium held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja. He urged politicians and the media to shun the debate on the 2015 elections, for now.
He said the main Focus of public debates should be how to tackle the challenges of insecurity, development and job creation.
President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo attended the symposium.
Other dignitaries include House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, representative of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghie, former President Shehu Shagari, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Also present were Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Bamanga Tukur, former Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) Col. Kayode Are, Chief Edwin Clark, Guild of Editors President Mr Gbenga Adefaye and many others
Anyaoku said: “I have only two messages in my brief chairman’s remarks. The first is to urge our politicians, and here I must also add our media too, to spare the nation the distraction of engaging now in public debate on the 2015 elections. This is only the first of a four-year political dispensation.
“We must not allow preoccupation with the 2015 elections to confirm the view that our politicians are only interested in self-aggrandisement, with the result that our national politics is bereft of active ideas on how to uplift the country and improve the quality of life of our citizens.
“ The main Focus of our public debates at this time should be how to tackle the massively destructive challenges currently facing the nation.
“Our democracy, like democracy in many other countries, has over the last year faced a number of serious challenges.
“We - the government, the corporate sector, the civil organisations and the citizenry - must in all our activities be driven by the commitment and desire to work for the good of the majority of our citizens. It is only in this way that we can be confident of continuing to celebrate in years to come, our Democracy Day in a united and indivisible country,” he added.
Anyaoku noted that the Jonathan administration had set the national compass in the right and inspiring direction, especially in the agenda set for power supply, agricultural development, roads and railway as well as macro-economic management.
He called for the commitment of the corporate sector, the civil organisations and the citizenry in the realisation of the set goals.
President Jonathan said the Executive once contemplated approaching the Supreme Court for interpretation on whose prerogative it was to prepare budget.
He also said for the nation’s democracy to yield dividends, the legislative and executive arms of government must work together for the good of democracy.
House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal accused the executive of shunning the responsibility of assenting to bills passed by the legislature, saying this has been a challenge to lawmakers.
They both spoke at the Democracy Day Symposium with the theme “Our Democracy: Progress and Challenges”.
Jonathan noted that for democracy to be meaningful, the government must have a budget to manage the economy. He, however, said budgeting has always been a source of friction between the Executive and the legislature.
He noted that every time the budget is sent to the National Assembly for approval, it is always distorted and this does not go down well with the executive that prepared it according to needs and resources available.
The President noted that the situation got to a point in 2008 when the Executive wanted to approach the apex court for interpretation on the budget appropriation.
“For democracy to be meaningful to this country and for us not to have conflict and for us to render good service, we must have budget; budget is a law. The Constitution said the Executive must have a budget for you to be able to plan and manage the economy of the country. If you send your budget to the National Assembly and they tear it to pieces and package what they like to you, you start planning and managing the economy, we have challenges every year.
“We even wanted to go to court, so that the Supreme Court would tell us if it is the duty of the National Assembly to plan the economy. This was in 2008. Let them do the budget, hand over to us we will implement, but if it is our duty, then they should listen to us because the executive arm of government has a ministry for planning and finance and work with the Central Bank.
“Budgets are not created from the moon; it is based on projections, commitments and funding and what you see sometimes could be disturbing. This has been a major conflict between National Assembly and the Executive, the Speaker mentioned it; that is why I am raising it. These are little things, if both arms of government work together. My plea is legislative and the executive arms of government of the same political party, must work together for democracy to be meaningful to Nigerians,” he said.
The President added: “One other area is that we are still confused between the democratic government and military dictatorship. If we must practice democracy, no matter how bad you feel about any situation, you must follow the rule of law.
“As we speak, we have about N185 billion judgment debt for this country. Most of them because of decisions taken by government not properly thought through but because people push you to take such decisions. When people go to court, the government is being fined, I have told the Attorney-General that we must stop this.
“Nigerians should encourage us to follow rule of law to get to where you want to go, we will follow the rule of law in our transformation programme and as we progress.
“In any government, the first year is more of a planning year. For you to succeed you must plan; we have planned and carried out a number of programmes. I believe Nigerians will agree with us that we have tried.”
Adefaye, who spoke on behalf of the media, praised the administration for expanding the scope of democracy by identifying with the media.
He said the gesture demonstrated the realisation of the government to the fact that the media is a major pillar for democratic development.
Adefaye lauded the passage of the FOI law by the administration, noting that the law has promoted citizens participation in governance and greater than any other material development.
He urged the government to pay more attention to the security, employment generation and development of key infrastructure, particularly power.
Mr Frank Nweke jr, on behalf of the private sector, said the administration in the past one year had witnessed increased private sector participation in the development and provision of key infrastructure.
He called on Nigerians to support the administration’s reform programmes for the power sector, noting that it would encourage private investors to invest and develop the sector.
The Interim president of National Youth Council, Ajani Olawale, decried the level youth employment and attributed it to national insecurity.
He noted that it is only in an atmosphere of peace that the nation can develop.
National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) President Mrs Nkechi Mba praised Jonathan Administration for appointing women as ministers of key sectors, such as Petroleum, Finance and Aviation among others.
Mrs Mba said the decoration of the first woman pilot combatant and the anticipated appointment of the first woman Chief Justice of Nigeria after the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent CJN are credit to the administration.
She also commended the National Assembly for the appointment of a woman as Majority Leader in the House of Representatives.
Are, identified the primary goals of any government as the security and welfare of the citizenry.
He advised that government should avoid selective enforcement of laws, policisation of security matters, as well as partisan and sectoral interest in dealing with security issues.
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