The world is gradually becoming a place where discussions about problems seem to control the pace rather than proffering solutions and making head way; today in the 21st century, the global world is united in a bid to finding lasting answers for questions asked and problems left unresolved. It is for this reason that dignitaries from around the world converged on Abuja for an International Conference on Social Sciences and Law, to proffer solutions toward the already deteriorating state of human relations.
The event was organized by the Nigerian Turkish Nile University Abuja and other Turkish organizations across the globe with key participants from Europe and Asia.
Vice Chancellor of the Nigerian Turkish Nile University, Prof. Huseyin Sert paved way for positive discussions that will help participants contribute positively to the growth of Africa and the world in areas of national development and human relations.
Prof. Sert said, “Every country depends solely on a strong economy wishing that with the conference and exchange of ideas, positive discussions would help mend broken walls and fill loop holes”.
In a speech, the Honourable Minister and Deputy Chairman of National Planning Commission, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman added that, “the global economic paradigm change, has turned the world to a global data economy. Therefore those in government try their best possible to find ways they can help allay the fears of the people in the area of economic meltdown and the increasing number of poverty.’’
He said, “The Ministry of National planning has created a special project called National digital economic partners (NDEP) where members who are investors from around the world, connect to build a virile economy where members help one another grow”; adding that members who are wealthier than others can only extend a hand of fellowship in the area of poverty alleviation.
The Minister hailed Government for the dredging of the River Niger from Baro, Niger State to Warri in Delta state though it has not been completed but have been responsible for the activities of millions of passengers and will enable more cargo ships carry goods for economic purposes. He also commended government for investing more on railway transportation which is a means for conveying heavy goods around Nigeria.
Prof Abubakar also stressed that the public sector has continued to generate money for government through its large work force commending the private sector which has assumed the driver’s seat in that regard.
The minister urgedNigerians to support government policies which connect the system with the Nigerian people.
He went further to add that government has always had the people’s interest at heart; therefore throwing unnecessary tantrums would not solve but complicate issues. He urged Nigerians to embrace the idea of e-banking, which is the idea of the present administration, in its bid to encourage a cashless economy and build a free society where money can be easily spent and not lost.
Also, the minister spoke on the Freedom of Information Act which has availed Nigerians the opportunity to be informed about government policies which today has necessitated the cordial relationship between government and the people of Nigeria stressing that some countries in the world still have not given their citizens the right to access information on government activities as it is In Nigeria.
On his part, African Development Bank (ADB)Country Director, Dr. Ousmane Dore, said, “The problem of Africa is not necessarily with the people but with the scarce resources found in their immediate environment.”
He said in the year 2000 the African continent experienced five percent decrease in growth rate.
According to him, “with Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM), Africa has a huge potential of raising finance from domestic taxes and about 0.44 percent increase in tax/Gdp Ratio can generate $22.5 billion dollars revenue annually’’.
Dr. Ousmane explained further that Africa cannot experience growth, when a wide percentage of its population still wallows in the nets of unemployment and poverty. According to him, when employment is available, poverty will be eradicated and the country, fully grown and developed and advised countries in Africa, especially Nigeria, to find other means of increasing revenue, rather than depending on oil.
He said, “Africans do not rely unnecessarily on the finances that come from abroad, but have enabling resources to help finance and solve their problem. Though the oil sector in Nigeria has been shut down by the global economic oil price, Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy is expected to explore other sectors like Agriculture, Information and communications technology to strengthen its economy’’.
Other participants stressed the role of social science as a discipline and law which largely are expected to bind society for the overall development of the society. One of the participants, Mr. Martin Olukoya said, ‘’every country in the world has their law. What is obtainable in Turkey is definitely not applicable in Nigeria recognizing the divergent beliefs and practices. However, the common meeting point is on the subject matter, law and human behavior’’.
The representative of the Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Dr. Otaki Alanana stressed the need for emphasis on the role of lawyers and social scientists in societal development and policy formation and gave an instance of the Nigerian Enterprise Promotion Act 62 which says, any government which comes to Nigeria to make its presence must employ Nigerians as staff, but in the event that no qualified Nigerians are seen around, then foreign nationals can employ their own citizens in the country.
He continued, asking if the law is still in place and how many foreign multinational companies have really put that into practice saying that “the essence of human behavior and law is to allow a free flow of justice and free opportunity for all who are residents or citizens of any given country especially Nigeria.”
Dr. Otaki also advised government on its choice of policy makers and advisers. He said government should employ the large resources of social scientists for better policies that will enable it achieve remarkable objectives. Since the objects of social science are human society and groups, government should know how to balance these groups so it will go a long way in managing human problems.
While some spoke on the need for economic evaluation and possible human development, others emphasized on the need for government’s full implementation of its policies and the implementation of full presidential system of government which is considered the American style of governance. The Vice Chancellor Nasarawa State University, Professor Muhammed Akaro Mainoma stressed that countries differ in their approach to governance and what system of government they should practice.
He said, ‘’America may have the best democracy in the world but every other country whose system of government does not work in tandem with the world’s idea of democracy should not be condemned but praised for adopting democracy with a different approach. Therefore, if Nigeria permits elderly citizens to contest for key positions and is contrary to what is obtainable in the west, we should not condemn ourselves but work hard to make it better.”
Prof. Muhammed also stressed that change is part of man; therefore whatever a man says now maybe completely different the next time he is asked the same question. He disregarded the point raised for only social scientists to be included in government’s decision making process, adding that only qualified citizens who know the truth should be given the opportunity to contribute nationally and advise those in government.
In the end, participants appreciated the efforts put together by the Nigerian Turkish Nile University and other sponsors for the conference, stressing that government should carefully implement policies which will not only ease the lives of Nigerians but help in their discharge of duties.
Bakori is a public affairs analyst based in Abuja.