Burning national issues including unity of the country, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development would be on the table when the Interfaith Initiatives for Peace meet in Abuja tomorrow.
The group jointly led by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and former Catholic archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, would hold at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
“I am pleased to invite you on behalf of Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, his eminence Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar and Emeritus John Cardinal Onaiyekan, national peace committee chaired by general Abdulsalami Abubakar and Socio-cultural Consultative Committee convened by me and all these bodies called Committee of Goodness of Nigeria, CGN, to an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalization and development, women and youth welfare and general progress,” an invitation letter sighted by the Daily Sun read.
Obasanjo had on Sunday asked Nigerians to cry to God for a solution to the security crisis plaguing the country.
“We seem to have been overwhelmed and unsure of how to handle the crisis in our land. But nothing is too difficult for God to do. That is why we are here,” he had said.
“We have some challenges. These are beyond what we can handle. We have to cry out to God to help us.”
Meanwhile, Onaiyekan has urged Nigerians to put elected leaders on their toes and hold them accountable.
He stated this at the North Central Zonal Dialogue Conference, organised by Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, in partnership with Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development.
“Nigerians have gotten used to just sitting and complaining about everything. They complain about government and politicians but they do not take their role of citizen participation seriously. The leaders are happy about this and take full advantage of the docile nature of most Nigerians.
According to him, it is only when Nigerians actively use their right of citizen participation in governance that the leaders will be on their toes and live up to their responsibilities.
The cleric reminded leaders that once they took their oath of office with either Bible or Quran, they had put themselves under the judgment of God.
Another panelist, Mr Bola Abimbola, Executive Director of Savannah Centre, noted that some of the problems in the country stemmed from a trust-deficit between government and citizens.
Abimbola, represented by Mr Felix Pwol, a Director at the centre, said it was imperative for government to focus on achieving national unity, national security, women and youth development as well as civil society and government partnership.
Executive Director of Lux Terra, Rev. Fr. George Ehusani, said that the conference was a response to the ongoing widespread call for dialogue towards resolving Nigeria’s worsening socio-economic, political and security challenges.
Panelists at the conference included: Prof. Olugbemiro Jegede, pioneer Vice-Chancellor, National Open University and Mr Audu Ogbeh, a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Others were: Mr Labaran Maku, a former Minister of Information, Eugenia Abu, a retired staffer of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Mrs Ene Edeh, a rights activist.
Participants were drawn from the six states of the North-Central geo-political zone: Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger and Plateau.