CIBN, experts sue for integration in economic policy
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), has said that national integration and citizenship are important tools for effective economic policy and processes.
President of the institute, Prof. Segun Ajibola, speaking at the 2017 CIBN yearly lecture in Lagos, at the weekend, stated that national integration and successful planning and implementation are in inseparable.
“Indeed it will be wrong to assume that any economic policy will succeed without the awareness of a common identity among the citizens, while respecting their ethnic, cultural, religious and social affiliations.
“Nigeria has been estimated to have over 250 ethnic groups each with its own expectations and desires from the national government. I wish to therefore state that national integration is predicated on the mobilization of the citizenship just as it is enhanced through appropriate economic policies,” he said.
Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, who is also the Chairman of the event, noted that ‘citizenship is the only ante dote to the issue of integration.
“There is no more powerful instrument than economic policy to address the issue of integration and citizenship. When you formulate economic policy by recognising this principle, you create an environment where people are compelled to identify with,” he said.
The guest Speaker, who is also a Professor of Economics and Director, Institue for Developmental Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Osita Ogbu, noted that “it is clear that nations rise and fall not because of oil or other sub-soil assets, but because they have leaders who deliberately constructed acceptance or legitimation of the nation state in the minds of its citizens as diverse as they may be.
“This deliberate construction, in the Nigerian case, requires the elevation of citizenship over indigene; the promotion of meritocracy; the creation of democratic citizenship with equal rights and justice for all; and the use of creativity and imagination for common purpose irrespective of the source of this creativity.
‘Our turn-by-turn political arrangement is overly concerned with the region of origin of occupier of office, the sponsorship to the office and not on antecedent and measured performance.’
Speaking on the theme: “National Integration, Citizenship and the Challenge of Economic Policy Making’, he further stated that in our case, “the recruitment of citizens with emotional attachment into this common political community is an exercise in national integration.
“I suggest a National Integration Commission (NIC) under the presidency that would champion actions and activities that would break the resistance to a true nation-state, overcome the strong bonds of ethnic affiliations and the emergence of democratic citizenship with full rights wherever they may be.
“I would further suggest that the first order of business for the commission would be a review of the 2014 Conference report that contains very important proposals for national integration and key elements of the drafts constitution of 1995 and all other documents which elements can become part of a new constitution that comes from ‘we the people’”.
According to him, the work of the Commission cannot stop there, but pursue institutional framework, while the underlying principle would be the continuous promotion of ethos of hard work, equity and justice, multiple identity, religious and cultural tolerance, increasing the stock of knowledge of all regions, mind-set changes with the appropriate cultural software, national poitical ideology, and a sense of pride in a diverse but united Nigeria.
He also cited countries like Singapore, China, Malaysia, among others, that became prosperous through hard work, improvising, planning, even as their leaders shunned nepotism and favouritisism.