By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Chairman of the Nigeria Summit Group, Mr. Asue Ighodalo has called on the federal government, non-state actors and ordinary Nigerians to act with what he described as “fierce urgency” to secure the future of the country.
He spoke at the opening of the 27th summit of the NESG, Abuja, Monday with the theme, “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.”
He urged the public and private players in the country to sink their differences, with the purpose of uniting to confront the socio-economic woes facing the nation.
His words, “We, the government and people of Nigeria, must act now, with fierce urgency, to reform and secure our future. We must, without any further bickering and equivocation, position ourselves to be part of and benefit from the 4th industrial and economic revolution.”
Low levels of economic policy coordination
Mr. Ighodalo lamented the low economic policy coordination, which he said, had held the nation down, for too long.
According to him, “Three consistent underlying issues that have kept recurring in our advocacy have been the low levels of economic policy coordination, the pace of reforms and the low policy efficiencies and inconsistencies.
“Too many of the crucial policies required to deliver results have simply taken too long to be reviewed, approved and acted upon, resulting in an inability to coordinate various policies that were out of step with each other.
“We note that the NES #26 Report has been presented to the Federal Executive Council and National Economic Council and we eagerly still look forward to the implementation of its key recommendations. The 27th Nigerian Economic Summit, will continue from where we stopped last year, with the theme, Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now. “
No more time for small quarrels
“We have had two recessions in five years, aggravated by multiple vulnerabilities across political, economic, security, social, environmental, legal and technological fronts. Like never before, the Nigerian Economic Summit is compelled to call on the collective will, capacity, resources and commitment of all leaders in the governing class, in business and in civil society to rise to the occasion of our times.
“This is no time for petty quarrels, blame games and fingerpointing. It is time to secure our future, all working well together, with fierce urgency, utilising every arsenal and capability at our disposal.
“The urgency is also anchored on leveraging on the greatest opportunities of these times, which require the will to make and implement the right choices; the urgency to reopen our economy differently and attractively; the urgency to resolve our security problems; the urgency to ensure macroeconomic stability; the urgency to accelerate our digital and technological capacities; the urgency of seizing the competitive African Market space created by the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area; the urgency to not just grow tax revenues, but to grow our non-oil export earnings; the urgency to attract and acquire fourth industrial revolution technologies, and the urgency to create innovative and transformative solutions to social problems and to climate change issues
“The fierce urgency of now implies that unless we take deliberate and focused steps to transform our society, Nigeria will be left far behind not just by the world but also by several emergent bright spots in Africa, and our people will continue to wallow in poverty, hunger, insecurity and division.
“We can no longer afford to dream and theorize about the right policies, projects and programmes that will prepare us for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or gaze in admiration or envy at other countries as they leave us far behind.
Pervasive despondency among youths
The Chairman equally noted Nigerian youths were leaving the country in droves, resulting in the nation losing large numbers of its best brains and skilled manpower, out of despondency because the people at the helm of affairs have failed to give them hope.
His words, “We also cannot continue to allow the pervasive despondency leading our youth to migrate, to other countries. We are losing their skills and talent at a time when we need our best minds to tackle our most pressing problems and challenges. Nigeria must be a beacon of hope and possibilities.
“We must be humble to accept where we have taken wrong policy positions and reverse ourselves. We must be open to new ideas and innovations that can quickly transform our economy.
“We must act boldly and with courage, in the best interest of all Nigerians. The world is looking at us; but the world is not waiting for us.
“There are still too many of our people who are too poor and without hope, too many of our children who are out of school and without care, too many of our able men and women without work, and too many of our businesses without prospects.
“We are still too dependent on crude oil and there are still too many points of deliberate leakage in our government. Nigerians feel unsafe and insecure. “