The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that Nigeria must prioritize its unity, cohesion, and progress by doing away with prejudices such as ethnic profiling, religious bigotry, and the promotion of divisive rhetoric, particularly by Nigerian elites in the quest for power.
Osinbajo stated this while delivering a lecture, “Creating a Homeland for All: Nation Building in a Diverse Democracy,” as part of the policy-making and good governance lecture series initiated by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) management, which seeks to provide a platform for executive course 45 participants to interface with intellectuals from various backgrounds.
Osinbajo, who warned that prejudices that tend to impede the progress of Nigeria must be avoided, said there must be a deliberate policy backed by elite consensus that bars Nigerians from using the nation’s diversity to negatively promote their ambitions.
He said Nigeria must prioritize its unity, cohesion, and progress by doing away with prejudices that have impeded the nation’s growth.
Osinbajo said the task of changing the situation lies with both the citizens and the government, which is expected to drive reforms and enforce the rule of law at all times.
He added that ethnic and religious profiling for political reasons must be contained because of its destructive tendencies, adding that when ethnic or religious prejudice is weaponized for political purposes, the nation is confronted with a potentially lethal and destructive situation.
“But when ethnic or religious prejudices are weaponized for political purposes, we are confronted with a lethal, potentially destructive situation.” Elections, by their very nature, tend to be divisive affairs. “Partisan democratic competition compels us to align ourselves with the camps that most reflect our ideals and aspirations,” he said.
According to his address, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said the Lecture Series is a well-conceived idea that addresses the long-standing challenge of policy-making and delivery of people-centred governance in Nigeria.
He said, “Policies are ordinarily supposed to be formulated based on national or state aspirations and driven by the concept of the “general good.” Unfortunately, we have witnessed time and again where good policies have been either jettisoned or poorly executed in Nigeria based on politics and other considerations that do not reflect the general interest.
Lalong noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has, in the last 8 years, done his best to revive some of the national policies across all sectors that are at the core of Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
“It is expected that our President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will continue to build upon these policies in a manner that emphasizes systems rather than personalities.”
In his opening remark, the Director-General of NIPSS, Professor Ayo Omotayo, said the lecture series is another initiative of the Institute aimed at generating discourse on critical issues such as policy-making and good governance, which are key to attaining Nigeria’s national aspirations.
Omotayo stated that the vice president has done much for the institute, adding that under his supervision, the national institute has achieved a lot and is craving more.