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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Limiting probe to Jonathan Administration cannot be justified, Falana tells Buhari

ABUJA – A renowned diplomat, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, Monday, counselled President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to bring together all major stakeholders in economic management in order to brainstorms on ways to revive the nation’s ailing economy.

Professor Gambari spoke in Abuja, just as the Human Rights Lawyer, Chief Femi Falana, SAN, observed that the decision of the Federal Government to limit the investigation of corruption cases to the Jonathan Administration cannot be justified in law.

The eminent Nigerians expressed their views in Abuja, at the public presentation of the book, “economic diplomacy and Nigeria’s foreign policy” written by the immediate past Chairman of TETFUND, by Dr. Musa Babayo, and attended by members of civil society groups and associates.

Professor Gambari, who is also the Founder and Chairman of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, SCDDD, expressed grave concern over the current nation’s dwindling foreign exchange earnings.

According to Gambari. “Nigeria is indeed currently at economic crossroad, due in part to the many years of mismanagement of our common patrimony and the pressures occasioned dwindling foreign exchange earnings, itself a result of falling crude oil receipts.

“As at last week, the foreign exchange of the U.S Dollar to Naira stood at one Dollar to two hundred and forty four Naira at the local market.

“All the decades of talk about diversifying the economy and moving away from over-reliance on oil must be translated into concrete actions. There is, indeed urgent need to bring together all major stakeholders to foster better economic management while spreading grassroots development, especially in the light of new global and power configuration”, he said.

Gambari stressed further that, “Nigerians seriously yarn for and which they have voted for in the most recent state and national elections. The current socio-economic challenges, such as high level poverty, huge unemployment, persistent power-blackout despite huge amount of money invested, and above all the perennial disconnect between the leaders and the rest of citizens, must be tackle headlong.

“The government should as a matter of priority open and strengthen communications between the government and the citizens. Trust building between the government and the citizens would make the people feel carried along in the business of governance.”

On the foreign scene, Gambari noted that, “In Nigeria, s elsewhere in Africa and the world, foreign policy and diplomacy are vital tools for socio-economic development. This is the essential message of this book.

“Hence, a key objective of foreign policy and the definition of the national interest must of necessity be promotion of the welfare of the citizens of any country.”

He said, “There is therefore a need to have an authoritative focal point to coordinate the broad range of our external relations in order to maximise the opportunity for promoting the socio-economic development of our country and the welfare and well-being of our people.

The highest form of such a coordinated approach obtains in some countries where there is a single Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

“For Nigeria, I would advocate a new and permanent inter-ministerial council which would provide an effective link between our general foreign policy endeavours with our external trade and international economic interest.”

Speaking as the Special Guest of honour, at the occasion in his paper entitled, “The right to accountable government in Nigeria” the Human Rights Lawyer, Chief Femi Falana noted that, “The right to development is a fundamental right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social and cultural development.

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