Development, security, social welfare dominate debate on President’s speech

By Patrick Andrew

Delegates at the ongoing National Conference on Monday dwelt extensively on economic development, social welfare and security as basis for a stronger and virile nation.

The delegates, who began discussion on President Goodluck Jonathan’s inaugural speech, were of the view that Nigeria deserves more than it is presently receiving in terms of economic development and core national values, which ought to have driven it to a higher pedestal in the comity of nations.

Thirty-nine delegates took the first turn to speak on the subject following the resolutions of the contentious voting mode and the adoption of the work plan. Delegate will speak in alphabetical order.

One of the first to speak, Prof. Bisi Aina, minced no words in stressing that social justice, equity and respect for human rights, must be the focus of government to address the present challenges noting that delegates should concentrate on issues of domestic violence, food security, shelter and high maternal mortality.

“Everybody is important. We also have to look into the issue of violence against women because one out of three women is a victim of domestic violence, while an average Nigerian does not have access to food, shelter and other basic needs.

Mr. Bisi Adegoye, a delegate from Ogun state, asserted that the collective interest of Nigeria was tied to the welfare of Nigerian citizens and the conference should reflect and re-examine issues that had posed challenges to the country’s development since independence.

“We should take an intense retrospection into Nigeria. It is a process of self examination and reflection that Nigeria needs. We need to look back to ask why have we failed,” he said noting that it was no time for blame game but forging ahead with resolve for move forward.

A physically challenged delegate, Mr. Adekumbi Ayodele, canvassed for improved welfare for persons living with disability. “At the end of this conference, we are expected to have a much more inclusive environment.

“We do not have Persons Living with Disability in government, despite the fact that we have potential. We expect as high as 30% after this conference.’’

The Deputy President of the NLC, Mr. Promise Adewusi, in reaction to the President’s speech, called on delegates to detach themselves from political and often myopic considerations bordering on religious or ethnic leaning that would hamper the success of the conference.

The next set of speakers took their turns yesterday on the second day of the third week since the President’s inaugural speech of March, 17.

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