By Henry Umoru & Racheal Kantiyok
Federal government Thursday tongue lashed some of the National Technical Working Groups (NTWGs) for the Nigeria Vision 2020 programme over what it described as failure to carry out critical reflective thinking. In his presentation at the Inauguration of the Special Interest Groups for Vision 2020 on Women, Youth, Labour and persons with disability, Minister/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission(NPC), Dr. Shamsuddeeen Usman who noted that there was the urgent need for Nigerians and the groups in particular to become more proactive against the backdrop that Nigeria was at crossroads, said the future of the country is determined by the choices we make.
According to him, â€œI thought I should talk to you about what are the strategic imperatives for vision 20:20, I am doing this because I think some of the work done by the National Technical Working Groups, some of them honestly have not been as strategic in thinking as possible, and in fact, am going to give a similar speech on Monday when we have the final seminar with them to ask some of them to go back and do more of strategic thinking.
â€œI want to take you just to give you a bit of the kind of background you need, when you sit down in your groups, we want the special interest groups to determine what we should be doing for 20:20, to achieve the 20:20 vision, and we have 12 special interest groups.
e It would be recalled that while inaugurating the National Technical Working Groups (NTWGs) for the Nigeria Vision 2020 programme in April this year at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja, Usman noted that the Committees have barely seven months to deliver the document against the backdrop that President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua would launch it 1st October, 2009
â€œThis inauguration is important in many ways. The coming together of experts in diverse fields of the economy and polity, to commence the preparation of the background papers in identified thematic areas, for Nigeriaâ€™s Vision 2020 document, more than anything we have done in the recent past, lends credence to our determination to fashion out for the good people of our great country, an acceptable and achievable long-term Vision document. A vision document that would guide our development processes in the next 11 yearsâ€, he said then.
The Minister who drew analogy to Nigerian scenarios of Jaga Jaga Republic, Shine your eyes, Parambulator and that of we don win, said by the year 2020, Nigeria would be a model for African democracy, a politically stable middle income country, adding that ten years ago, the economy was regressing while we are growing at an average of 7% over the last several years.
Also in her remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa who noted that the programme was an example of participatory democracy, stressed that with the passage of the bill on people with disability, there was now hope for them, just as she expressed fear that the document will not end up in similar ways others in the country ended up in the dustbin.
In his remarks, Minister of Youth Development, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi urged Nigerians to show greater interest in the Vision 2020 programme against the backdrop that the move by the present administration was a departure from previous development planning model by the extensive consultative mechanism in the making of Vision 20-2020. In her good will message, the Minister of Women Affairs, Salamatu Suleiman stressed that the federal government was prepared to build a nation devoid of social discrimination among all members of the society especially the women.