Abuja – The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday stressed the need for elite consensus in the country to tackle the political, economic and social challenges confronting the nation.
The vice president said this when he received the Save Democracy Group Africa, which paid him a courtesy visit at the State House, Abuja.
According to Osinbajo, Nigeria needs an elite consensus that cuts across party, religious and ethnic lines to build the country.
He said there was no question at all about the importance of the group in the present day Nigeria.
“ It is very important for the elite to come together to agree on the type of nation that we want to build,’’ Osinbajo said.
He said that the task of coming together was difficult in a large country like Nigeria, but urged the group not to be deterred in its desire to forge common political understanding among the people.
The vice president said the administration looked forward to concrete steps that would follow its maiden summit to advance the democratic culture of the country.
He promised to convey the group’s requests for support to hold the summit to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Alhaji Ghali Na’abba, the Chairman of the National Political Summit Planning Committee, said the group was out to unite the political class and other stakeholders.
Na’abba, former Speaker of House of Representatives, said it was to build a platform to promote democracy, stabilise the polity and promote the enthronement of internal democracy in the nation’s political parties.
“Our ultimate aim is to provide a platform for continuous dialogue on all those things that affect us as a nation and will therefore be a breeding ground for credible ideas which may be useful to both the legislative and the executive arms of government.’’
Na’abba said the group was collaborating with the ECOWAS Commission, UNDP, National Assembly, Nigerian Institute for Legislative Studies, political parties and the African Independent Television in organising the annual political summit.
He said the maiden summit with the theme “2015 General Election: Consolidating the Gains and Building Positive Political Culture for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria’’ will hold from Jan. 24 to Jan. 26 in Abuja.
According to him Presidents John Mahama of Ghana and Alassane Ouatarra of Cote D’Ivoire are invited as Summit Chairman and Special Guest of Honour, respectively; while former Liberian Interim President, Amos Sawyer is the Guest Lecturer.
The former speaker said no fewer than 3,000 participants from the political class, civil society groups, women and youth leaders and members of the diplomatic corps had registered for the summit.
He said President Buhari would be conferred with Life Time Democracy Award in recognition of his belief and confidence in democratic governance as well as give recognition to some icons of Nigeria’s first and second republic politics.
“We want to use this programme to encourage them and assure them that their efforts to the democratic development in Nigeria were never in vain.
“It may well be the motivator and catalyst for the new character trait we want Nigerian youths to imbibe once again,’’ he said.
Na’abba hailed Buhari’s anti-corruption and economic programmes, but advised that corruption be fought from its roots.
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, former Minster of Women Affairs, Mrs Josephine Anenih, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, the Director-General of the group, among others were in the entourage.