By Henry Umoru
THE Federal government has urged the Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Alfa Belgore to within the next few weeks, develop the preliminary draft of the Nigeria Vision 2020 blueprint aimed at harmonising the various inputs from the 29 Technical Working Group (TWG) if Nigeria must achieve the set target of becoming one of the 20 world largest economies by the year 2020. According to the government, the Belgore led Central Working Group(CWG) report would help guarantee the productivity and well being of Nigerians, optimise the key sources of economic growth as well as foster sustainable social and economic development of the country.
Inaugurating the Committee in Abuja , the Minister/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman who noted that the groupâ€™s task was a difficult and daunting one, disclosed that 1,000 Nigerians of various ages, gender, political, academic and other backgrounds have helped chart a path towards the realisation of the vision 2020 document, just as he stressed that the inauguration of the CWG Committee was the climax of the handiwork of members of the NTWG in the last five months.
According to him, â€œThe CWG will be headed by a chairman whose responsibility will be to provide overall leadership for the sub themes identified earlier.
I am very happy to acknowledge the patriotism, dedication and sacrifice demonstration by Justice Alfa Belgore, retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, not only in chairing the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) on the Judiciary and Rule of Law, but also in accepting to be the chairman of the CWG.
â€œTo support the chairman, we have the overall coordinator who will help to coordinate the work of the 3â€”coordinators, one for each of the sub groups.
Again, here I am glad to announce that a very competent Nigerian who has demonstrated the necessary expertise in the past, in the person of Mr. Dotun Suleiman, has accepted to be the overall Coordinator.
â€œThe meetings of each sub group within the CWG will be presided over by the coordinator of the sub group, whose role will principally be to lead and chair the meetings of each sub-group and function as a content manager for the sub-groups report. Each sub-group will also have a technical report writer to assist in capturing the thoughts and deliberations of the group and transcribing it into the blueprint report.
â€œHere again let me express our appreciation to the 3 coordinators: Prof. Munzali Jibril, Professor Placid Njoku and Dr. Chris Itsede and all the members of the CWG for accepting to serve. Let me at this juncture thank you all for responding to this call to national service and assure you of this Administrationâ€™s determination to see this program through from articulation to implementation to realization. When Goldman Sachs released its report in 2005, stating that Nigeria could become one of the worldâ€™s 20 largest economies by 2025, and when President Obasanjo and subsequently, President Yarâ€™ Adua, subscribed to achieving the vision by 2020, it was understandably greeted with a lot of skepticism.
â€œIn our national history, which has been fraught with so many contradictions and paradoxes, where a large percentage of our people live in poverty amidst plenty and struggle with daily living, such pessimism and skepticism can be understandable. But we must not allow them to weigh us down, to drown us and take away from the effort and commitment that are needed to not only make up for our missed opportunities, but also chart a new and better future for children and future generations of Nigerians. We are confident in our resolve and commitment and in the resolve and desire of Mr. President, Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua to transform Nigeria.
â€œOur confidence also lies in the widespread commitment and optimism that has been shown by many Nigerians, such as you, in this program. As you deliberate, you should always envision a glorious and prosperous Nigeria that is among the top 20 economies in the world and has taken her rightful place in the comity of nations.
â€œThis government is very hopeful and committed we should achieve that by 2020. This hope is buttressed by the commitment of such eminent Nigerians like you that we can, together build a better Nigeria and turn this great Nation of ours into a greater force for good on the African continent and in the world.â€