BY OKONKWO ANTHONY UCHE
An interactive session that featured members of the Diplomatic Community in Nigeria and other stakeholders was held recently to discuss democracy and development.
The session, which was held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos saw Erelu Dosumu Abiola Fernández, the Erelu Kuto IV of Lagos, and Yeye Oba of Oodua moderated over the foreign policy session, as two guest speakers enumerated on burning issues affecting the economic wellbeing of the nation and productive strategies to adopt.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Mr Kim Young Chae exposited many vital points on how a good system is facilitated and works in a country that is yet to be fully developed and how it can be sustained.
Ambassador Kim Young chap explained how the Republic of South Korea survived her structure even though it’s been a communist system of government politically while the economical nature is purely democratic development. He explained why it is necessary for a nation to start patronising its locally made products and advocate it to other nations.
Prof. Femi Otubanjo, one of the guest speakers highlighted where the nation has gone wrong and the way forward. He said “Development may continue to be a mirage until we get our restructuring right.”
He said: “It is obvious we still have a long way to go and a lot to cover, but until our leaders realise that they have obligation and not right.”
In the same vein, the former Nigerian Ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni said, as the status quo is in the country, if you don’t get democracy right you can’t get development right.
Ambassador Olukanni who is also the former Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), noted that as one of the ways to better life and existence is to become patriotic in all sense and embrace everything about Nigerian made without prejudice.
The career ambassador said, the journey of a thousand miles begins a day, but it is important we imbibe the spirit of discipline within us as this will spread through those who rule and lead us.
Olukanni said just as Korea has a beautiful history and track record of discipline leaders then we can also emulate that and instill it.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Republic of South Korea, Federal Republic of Nigerian and Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. The Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Ambassador Zubairu Dada, said, over the years, the country has gone through quite tough time, but there is always a way forward to every challenges.
Ambassador Zubairu noted further that, it is essential to endeavour to make an irreversible commitment to uphold our democracy and strengthen our bilateral bond with other countries. He reflected on Chinese system of governance and how it has worked for them.
The Minister said it is high time we all become patriotic in our approach and philosophy.
Erelu Abiola Dosumu ended the session with productive points as part of the tenets of democracy. The Queen Mother of Lagos and Yeye Oba of Oodua race said it is time we should begin to have a voice, rise to the occasion, and instill in ourselves a national pride as government isn’t abstract, so citizens need to improve their psyche.
The session attracted many reputable personalities including Hon. Minister State Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Amb. Zubairu Dada, Consular General Burkina Faso, Souglimpo Jean Hugues Ouoba, 2nd Secretary/Political, Embassy of Republic of Korea, Eunkyung Son, Prof Femi Otubanjo, Olatutu Oladunni, Chairman Lagos SWAN and member of Certified Protocol Professionals, representative of Chief of Naval Staff, Navy Captain Ega, Air Vice Marshall Shobande of the Air Force Base Lagos, Brigadier General Oshunsan of Nigeria Army 81 Division and others.