* VP, UN Secretary-General, Others Participate In Dialogue At Foreign Affairs Ministry
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has advocated that only a paradigm shift in socio-economic planning and development using the bottom-up socio-economic planning model would strengthen our democracy and build a transparent and inclusive society.
Delivering a keynote address earlier today at the Dialogue on Democracy, Sustainable Development and Countering Terrorism’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, the Vice President stated that ‘‘we have 110 million extremely poor and at the bottom of human development indices. Most cannot and do not interrogate the alternatives offered by contesting parties beyond narrow prisms of ethnicity, and religion.’’
He added that ‘‘the disaffected millions who are largely illiterate and without a real stake in the security of the polity represent a reserve for recruitment into violent extremism.’’ However, he noted that violent extremism is not entirely a product of socio-economic exclusion, but a function of permitting religious and radically ethno-centric pedagogy without a persuasive enough counter-narrative.
Prof. Osinbajo then explained that what can be done to strengthen our democracy and build a transparent and inclusive society.
According to him ‘‘I think a paradigm shift might be required; bottom-up economic and social planning, budget and planning that are driven by the poverty and unemployment numbers.’’
Prof. Osinbajo then disclosed that government has a role to play in the determination of socio-economic inclusion by enabling a market driven economy and providing social safety nets through direct interventions directly in some cases.
Equally, he emphasized that a proactive approach to combating extremism among the vast millions of the poor and vulnerable citizens might be needful in addition to the socio-economic inclusiveness approach by offering a counter-narrative to the subsisting terrorist propaganda.
‘‘While market must be self propelled, Government must set the safety floor and intervene directly in some cases in providing jobs and opportunities. I think we must also offer an alternative narrative to the one of extremism and violence.’’
Emphasizing on the counter-narrative approach to combating terrorism based on religion, Prof. Osinbajo stated that it is not enough to counter religious views, but suggested that governments must seek progressive allies in such religion to achieve the objective of the narrative.
On climate change, the Vice President who identified the unmitigated consumption pattern as responsible for the challenges associated with climate change expressed the support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the fundamental objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the recent Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon in whose presence the dialogue held has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to social inclusiveness emphasizing that government must respect human rights and dignity of its citizens and that the vulnerable must be included in governance. He also disclosed during his remarks that the problems of insecurity and climate change cannot be tackled by any single country. He said “ Every hand should be on deck.’’
Mr. Moon used the opportunity to praise Nigeria’s leadership roles in Africa and the world in the area of peace keeping and on other global issues.
The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar who spoke at the occasion informed the gathering of efforts being made by traditional and religious leaders in the country to tackle the problem of extremism. He also called on the UN Secretary-General to help Nigeria to recover and return her stolen fund back to the country.
In his own remarks at the occasion, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onayeikan reiterated the position of the Pope on the issue of climate change and called for concerted actions to redress the situation.
SSA (MEDIA) to VP