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LP, NCFront to flag off Big Tent initiative

By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos

Three committees, a committee on Climate Change, Entrepreneurship Training for youth; one on Agriculture and the other on Legal Reforms and the Rule of Law, have been set up under ‘The Big Tent’ initiative, a coalition of several political parties, civil society organisations, and social movements led by Professor of Economic Strategy, Pat Utomi, to find solutions to the myriad of sociopolitical and economic challenges facing Nigeria, with the aim of positioning the country for global strategic relevance.

The committee on climate change and youth entrepreneurship training is led by Dr Jerome Okolo, a Sloan Fellow at the London Business School (LBS) Sloan Programme in Leadership and Strategy, and it is charged with mobilising youths to fight climate change, entrepreneurship training with capital support strategies, and business angles networks, to help strengthen new ventures for rapid economic reversal and private sector-led growth.

The committee on agriculture led by Prof Murtala Sagagi, management, entrepreneurship and innovation, and development management expert has the responsibility of fashioning agriculture factor endowments for value chains to return Nigerian to high employment manufacturing, while that on legal reforms and the rule of law, led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Muiz Banire has the responsibility of ensuring that respect for rule of law facilitates the goals of the new Nigeria.

Utomi, a chieftain of the Labour Party (LP) and the Chairman of the National Consultative Front (NCFront) disclosed this at the weekend while addressing a forum of the party’s candidates at the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), in Lagos.

He charged the leadership and members of LP not to wait till the party is in government to begin the proffer people-centred policies they have been deliberating on.

“A better, brighter and highly regarded Nigeria with global strategic relevance is possible. The impact must begin to be felt now. A quick solution to the power sector problem is imperative for the shift away from a focus on revenues and conspicuous consumption to production; entrepreneurship training for youth across the country with capital support strategies, and business angles networks, to give muscle to, and help strengthen the new ventures in their approach to capital, for rapid economic reversal and private sector-led growth is necessary; agriculture reforms will fashion the base for value chains to return Nigeria to high employment manufacturing; and, legal reforms will ensure the rule of law facilitates the goals of the new Nigeria. These efforts will bring dignity back to Labour,” he said.

In the statement by Austin Kemie on behalf of the Big Tent Secretariat, Utomi further noted that the three committees, as well as a new Policy Rapid Response team, would be officially unveiled this August, even at a broader level strategy session will continue.

He further said, “August is Africa’s climate change month and it provided us with an opportunity to mobilise the youth to clean up urban areas and reduce disease incidence in cities. The event will be flagged-off in Aba where the LP candidates will tee off the initiative. The Sultan of Sokoto has also expressed willingness to collaborate with the stop Sahara initiative of tree planting to be flagged off in Sokoto.”

He decried the continuing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and described the attitude of the current government towards education as saddening. He noted that a serious-minded team would have reached an accord with the striking university teachers in one week.

“The university system in Nigeria must be returned to the glory years of the 1950s and 1970s, the attitude of the current government towards education is saddening, a serious-minded team would have reached an accord with the striking university teachers in one week. Victory will come to the people” he added.

“The issues for next week’s brainstorming which will be the basis for orientation workshops for Third Force Party candidates will include National Development and Growth strategy; Tech for Growth; Winning Value chains; Agriculture for Food security; Outperforming SDG targets; Creating seamless collaboration and interface in sectors such as Maritime and Aviation; Public service reforms; Values for Leadership Effectiveness and Finance sector reforms designed to ensure massive capital inflows pegged on a national asset register and ensuring that markets work,” the statement said.

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