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Nigeria’s democracy challenged, says Osinbajo

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Osinbajo. Photo/TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said there is a struggle for the heart and soul of the country.

He disclosed this, yesterday, in Abuja during the presentation of the National Orientation Agency’s (NOA) five-year strategic plan (2021 to 2026) and review by select stakeholders from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, civil society and development partners.

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The Vice President, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Policy Research, Office of the Vice President, Chris Ngwodo, noted that the way to address the challenge is to rekindle the heart of youths, especially in Nigeria.

He said: “We are in the time of our history when the NOA by virtue of its mandate must come to the fore. There is a struggle for the heart and soul of this country and a struggle to change the destiny of our society as already observed.

“We are facing different challenges: the challenge of expanding the cycles of inclusion; challenge of deepening democracy; challenge of forging social cognition; and the challenge of expanding opportunity for a young population. These challenges all border on issues of state legitimacy and the renewal of the social contract.”

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In his address, the Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, noted that the five-year strategic plan would guide the agency’s activities for the next five years.

He said: “The government of Nigeria has continued to strive to put in place sound policies and programmes to enable the country attain the much needed national development. These policies largely have been direct re-election of available human and material resources, cultural realities and political persuasions and also policies and programmes that are deeply rooted in deep democratic norms of accountability, transparency, and fiscal discipline.

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“This is because most policies and programmes in the past have been choked by the impact of corruption. The entrenchment of development is essential and inevitable, even in the face of implementation challenges of rural development policies, which the present administration has tried to tackle via direct funding of local governments and more effective monitoring of how local government funds are expended.”

He added: “It must, however, be noted that no matter how well-intentioned government policies, programmes and activities are, unless there is a clear understanding of how to appropriate and benefit from these policies, programmes and activities by the target public, such policies and programmes would not be seen to be meeting the development needs of the public, and as such may become ineffective and impotent.”

The draft copy of the strategic plan was presented to select stakeholders from government, civil society and development partners for review and input.

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