Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo yesterday, January 14, explained that, Nigeria’s size coupled with her sheer economic power propelled by a large population, makes the proposition of one Nigeria attractive.
“Whoever it is that wants to go his own way will find that our size is why we are an attractive proposition”, the Vice President said at the 13th annual Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja titled “50 Years After 1966: Is Nigeria Rising?”
The Vice President who is also a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, maintained that the country’s size is not just formidable in the African continent, but also globally.
“Our country has the potential not just to be the giant of Africa, but a major economic giant in the world”, he said, adding that it is that giant of a nation that the Nigerian elites have a duty to deliver.
According to him, the size of Lagos State alone is larger in terms of economy than several African countries, stressing that Nigeria is better off staying together and maintaining the unity it enjoys in the outside world.
Addressing the question proposed in the title of the Dialogue, Prof. Osinbajo said “there is no question at all, our country is rising despite all challenges”.
He noted however that “in the history of nations everywhere there is the question of elite consensus”.
While agreeing that the elite must join hands for a group or nation to be built, he opined that the task must not be left to the political class alone as it also involves religious, professional and traditional elites as well.
It is such a seeming lack of consensus among these groups Osinbajo noted, has made it look like “despite all we have done, it does appear that we are moving in circles”.
Said he: “nation-building is based on elite consensus. There may be divergent views but unless we agree as to how to govern this space, we could be going round and round in circles”.
Speaking further, Vice President Osinbajo observed that a country may have good policies but the important thing is the capacity to implement those policies, adding that there is the need for instance, to have a legal system where equity and justice is dispensed within a reasonable timeframe and a system where no one is above the law.
Other speakers at the Dialogue were former Chief of Defense Staff, General Martin Agwai (retd); the Nigerian Representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Dr. Mairo Mandara and former CBN Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo.
The Dialogue was moderated by one time Head of the Federal Civil Service, Alhaji Adamu Fika, and hosted by executives of Daily Trust Newspapers.