Kukah Centre Holds 2nd Edition of “The Podium”

The Kukah Centre with the support of the Ford Foundation last Wednesday, 10th August 2016 held the Second Edition of “The Podium”, a forum where important issues of governance in Nigeria are discussed.

“The Podium” which is a key component of the fix Nigeria Initiative and a signature project of the Kukah Centre, strives to provide a platform of engagement between public officials and the citizens of Nigeria.

Through this initiative, the Centre hopes to elevate the quality of political discourse in Nigeria by generating fresh ideas through robust and informed engagements and in the process deepen Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

The Second Edition of “The Podium” which had the theme: “From Activism to Political Power; The Challenges of Democratic Governance in Nigeria”, featured the Executive Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, mni, CON.

Welcoming the guests to the program, the Acting Executive Director of the Kukah Centre, Dr. Arthur-Martins Aginam disclosed that the Edo State Governor was chosen to lead the discussions on the selected theme because before venturing into politics and as a Former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, he was in the fore front of many battles with government officials and organised private sector on issues relating to the welfare of workers.

Dr. Aginam noted that among other key questions the Governor was expected to address during the session were: How can civil society’s best participate in politics and governance?  Do civil society activists make a jump from the streets to the political arena, if so what do they need to be successful? How pervasive is the role of money, God fathers in the Nigerian politics and can one succeed without all these? What is the transaction cost of getting into power and more crucially staying in the saddle? Do activist lose their integrity and idealism in the murky waters of politics?

The Chairman of the Session and Former Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Mr. Donald Duke while declaring the Session open, commended the Founder of the Kukah Centre, His Lordship, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah for organizing the forum, stating that the theme was very apt.

Furthermore, Mr. Duke described Bishop Kukah as an activist cloaked in Cassock, with a Staff as a Shepherd who seeks to enthrone spiritual norms and values in the society.

He reminded the audience not to lose sight on the fact that as people who are yeaning to make improvements in the society they are also activists.

While mounting the podium, the Guest Speaker, Governor Oshiomhole praised Bishop Kukah’s initiatives in promoting a stronger national unity through dialogue and the promotion of Economic and Social Justice for all Citizens.

Governor Oshiomhole told those present that his decision to be actively involved in activism was borne out of his belief of having an ideal society where justice and equal opportunities reigns supreme.

The “Comrade Governor” as he is fondly called, highlighted some of his achievements during the last seven and half years as governor of Edo State in the areas of Education, Health and Infrastructural development.

The Governor stated that, his achievements in office are tied to his belief in putting smiles on the faces of the common man on the street. He then called on Nigerians to be active participants in governance by holding their leaders accountable.

Among the litany of notable personalities that attended the forum included; Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, Former Governor of Niger State; His Lordship Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza, Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese; Politicians from different political divides; Political Scientists and Activists; Members of the Diplomatic Corp and others.

Those present at the forum also had the opportunity to ask Governor Oshiomhole questions ranging from good governance to activism.

Principal interlocutors at the forum were: Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ojeifo, who is a prolific public affairs commentator and Personal Secretary to Cardinal John Onaiyekan; Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, a Political Scientist and Activist; Comrade Issa Aremu, an Executive Member of the Nigerian Labour Congress and Dr. Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development.

Founder of “The Kukah Centre”, His Lordship, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah in a Photograph with Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River State and the Principal Interlocutors at the 2nd Edition of “The Podium” which held in Abuja Last week Wednesday.

reported by: Damian Ugiomoh