The African Heritage Institution on Tuesday 9th may 2017 held the second edition of the Big Ideas Podium. The Big Ideas Podium is a national platform for public policy debates and a flagship of the African Heritage Institution with the objective of identifying burning and crucial issues that affect development and governance in Nigeria, West Africa, and Africa.
The theme of this edition of The Podium was “Towards a New Leadership for a Broken Nation” and Amb. Prof. George Obiozor, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States was the Guest Speaker.
While giving his speech titled “The Imperative of National Crossroad Leadership, Prof. Obiozor stated that the restructuring and institutionalization of Nigerian Politics is vital in times like this. He emphasized the importance of restructuring the nation’s politics, saying the call for referendum would become a national and international agenda.
According to him, “Generally, the leadership Nigeria needs now must recognize that any new system for the country must take cognisance of the present national reality that today, no single group or bloc, no matter their pretenses to power, can again dominate the Nigerian political system.” He also said that “We need a system that commands the respect of our people and is seen as fair, just and equitable to all. Therefore, Nigerian politics needs restructuring and institutionalisation as a way to contain its adverse effects on efforts towards nation-building, national integration and national development.”
The Ambassador also called for the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference.
The moderator of the event, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Heritage Institution, mentioned that the Big Ideas Podium is designed to explore missing links in the Nigerian system and proffer lasting solutions.
Also present at the event were Prof. Elo Amucheazi and Prof. Aloy Okolie who were both guest discussants at the event. Prof Elo Amucheazi a former Director-General of the National Orientation Agency.
While discussing the paper, Prof. Amucheazi commented that the country needs genuine democracy, genuine lead as well as restructuring. He stated that there is need to look forward from the past but unfortunately in Nigeria the present is not better than the past. He also commented that what we have in Nigeria are ‘Rulers’ and not ‘Leaders’.
Prof. Okolie who also discussed the paper, commented that there is need to build micro nationalism in order to achieve nationalism in Nigeria. This he further emphasized stating that “It is the rudiments of the micro-nationalism that will be leveraged upon to building nationalism at the national level”.
The event had representatives of different institutions as well as elder spokespersons in attendance.