By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Determined to play a prominent role in shaping the political choices of Nigerians come 2023, The Nigeria Agenda, an advocacy group for a nation devoid of ethnic and religious biases adopted by a coalition of over 50 Civil Society Organisations across the country, has inducted over 300 volunteers in the South-eastern geo-political zone of Nigeria.
In a statement released Monday in Abuja a d signed by the Chief Advocate of the TNA, Niyi Akinsiju, said the newly inducted TNA Volunteers are expected to engage people at the grassroots in constructive dialogue by propagating the values of a Nigeria pivoted on the ideals of unity, equity, inclusiveness and good neighborliness.
Speaking during the induction ceremony and the launch of the The Nigeria Agenda which took place in Awka, Anambra state, Convener of the TNA and former Commissioner for Information in Adamawa state, Malam Ahmad Sajoh, said the country was at a critical point where the choice of leaders can no longer be left in the hands of politicians alone.
Malam Sajoh said: “Because that singular democratic choice can be the decider of our dear country, Nigeria.It could be the difference between life and death, progress and retrogression. The singular choice of who leads is the difference we are seeing in Dubai, Singapore, China and Malaysia today. So we must get it right or burst. We must pick a leader who is young enough to inspire us, brilliant enough to chart the way and totally Nigerian in order to give everyone a sense of belonging and fairness, not a leader who sees the country from his small ethnic prism.”
In his own, the TNA Chief Advocate Niyi Akinsiju , called on Nigerians to eschew sentimental divisions that erode the basis of the country’s unity.
“We should rise above the base sentiments that continue to hold us down and in doing this, we have to be suspicious of the intents of politicians that exploit these sentiments by planting seeds of discords and divisions amongst the people just for them to corner and secure political power. We must establish a system that enthrone competence rather than primordial religious or ethnic sentiments.
Also speaking, TNA Consultant and Strategist, Julius Ogunro, highlighted the values and attributes that can make the Nigerian Nation the leading light of the African continent and potentially a super power in the committee of nation.
“We have every material assets inclusive a culture and capacity to realise our individual and collective goals if we are determined to apply ourselves and properly guided by the right kind of leadership.”
For Chief Jerry Nwohu, National Leader and Chief Mobiliser of the National Prosperity Movement (NPM) ensuring national prosperity is the responsibility of all citizens working objectively together to achieve the goals of peace, unity and prosperity for all through a properly inspired and qualified leadership.
Also speaking in support, Prof. Chukwuemeka Jaja Nwanebo, who was the Guest Speaker on the occasion, said that Nigeria have to get the kind of leader we can tolerate.
“The way out is for members of the society to decide that enough is enough, not by killings or carrying placards but by good knowledge and voting. We must decide that by 2023, our vote must count. We must decide the quality of leaders that would take us to our destination,” he affirmed.
He further emphasised the need to avoid hate and divisive speech or false information: “We must steer clear from divisive tendencies used by the politicians to cause division among the people and other civil society organizations. Fighting one another will only escalate our problems hence the need to correlate and cooperate for better prosperity.”
According to the political scientist, prosperity is possible when we deal with our mindset and set the compass for a change of good governance.
Another speaker, Dr. Cliff Ogbede, stressed the need for all stakeholders in the nation’s politics to work in unison to foster prosperity of the nation.
“we must understand that everyone is affected by the ills of a wrong leader. Time and chance permits us to go for a leader who is passionate for future and advanced development,” he stated.
Lady Chinwe Nwakeze, the women leader for Afa Igbo Bu Ofu, a political organization, reiterated the urgency for all to get permanent voters card (PVC) to allow them exercise their legal franchise, while Dr. Chris Eluomonoh, a participant at the last National Conference urged old politicians to step aside and allow young, energetic people to pilot the affairs of the country.
He insisted that Atiku and Tinubu should take the back seat and allow younger and more vibrant leaders to take Nigeria out of the woods.
” I can’t really understand what is happening. What business do Atiku and Tinubu still have in the leadership of Nigeria.
“Do we want a case where they will sleep on the files sent them to be treated.
“I am 73 and I feel I have taken all that I needed from the country. Why must we continue to recycle those who belonged to the independence era short changing other generations.”