The Lift Above Poverty Organization, LAPO, Development Forum’s 25th anniversary was held at the weekend in Lagos and experts such as renowned diplomat, Chief Philip Asiodu and non executive director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Mike Obadan, said that moving Nigeria out of poverty is still daunting and yet to be pursued, just as non-state actors were charged to rise up to play their role in complementing government’s effort to drive economic development and transformation.
The forum which also marked the 60th birthday celebration of founder of LAPO, Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe was themed: “Towards Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation of Nigeria: Options for Non-State Intervention”. Asiodu stated: “It is critically important to elaborate a national vision and agenda 2040 now, to enable the leader mobilize the broad masses of the people to move forward to progress, unity and greatness.
Taking Nigeria out of poverty is a very daunting task which is yet to be pursued in earnest. “We find ourselves today confronted with serious economic challenges in a more difficult global setting and also with grave internal political and security problems. What we have in Nigeria is the sad paradox of a very richly endowed country in terms of natural and human resources which has lived for about six decades since independence in extreme and increasing poverty. Very few countries have been so blessed.”
Meanwhile, Obadan said that non-state actors and civil society organisations would need to be conscious and strive to address concerns such as weak capacity, lack of internal democracy, low credibility, non-collaboration among themselves so as to be more effective in the socio-economic transformation process.
He urged them on the need to change the perception that they lack transparency and accountability by demonstrating greater openness in their activities and submitting themselves to public probity. He stated:
“They need to develop the capacity for effective engagement with the government and participation in service delivery. Importantly, most of the time, the various NSAs do not collaborate in pressuring the government to do the right thing on issues that affect all citizens.
In light of this, they need to forge a strong alliance among themselves to get the government to listen to them. “Thus, non-state actors can, and do, play important roles in changing and shaping the course of national social, political and economic development.”