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Post Press release: Town Hall meeting was organised by Vision Nigeria 2011 UK

By Olatokunbo Osadebay

A group of concerned Nigerians and various Organisations have come together and organised a Town Hall Meeting. (Vision Nigeria 2011 UK) eager to cease the initiative from our recycled politicians had a Town Hall Meeting, to urge President Jonathan Goodluck to run for presidency in the upcoming general election and discuss the political and economic problems of Nigeria.

We are urging Goodluck to be decisive in order to restore confidence. This is the time for action, you cannot afford to be lukewarm. Set a vibrant tone.

Pro-Goodluck
Ineffectiveness of the PDP zoning system, in dealing with current political situation.

Venue: the Royal Commonwealth club 25 Northumberland Avenue
London WC2N 5AP opposite the Nigerian High Commission on the 29th June 2010 at 8pm.

Topics discussed:
The president
The main agenda of the meeting was to encourage the Nigerian public to urge President Jonathan Goodluck to run for Presidency in the following general election.

Olayinka Oduneye welcomed all for attending the meeting ,The opening address was delivered by Princess 'Deun Adedoyin-Solarin, veteran Broadcaster. Contributions came from the Panel of speakers as well as from all who were in attendance. It was unanimously agreed to send out a clarion call from the Diaspora, urging President Goodluck Jonathan to be decisive, in order to restore some level of confidence amongst Nigerians at home & abroad. It was opined that this is the time for action, we all cannot afford to be lukewarm any longer, as our future and that of our children is very much at stake.

One of the outcomes of the Pro-Goodluck meeting was to pressurise for an immediate change in the PDP zoning system. One of the Speakers Mr Mike Abiola said in his speech “For Nigeria to progress, we need to take the stance of Who The Cap Fits, Let Them Wear It, without fear or favour and without the old archaic elements of tribalism!”

Hajia Mairo Collin added that we are tired of the 'Old Skool' ways of doing things in Nigeria, so with a 'New Skool' person like President Goodluck Jonathan at the helm of affairs, the only way for us from now is up!.

Another Speaker said “It is about time we as a people stopped dithering and stepped up our game, the Generation of now must make a change and become more patriotic and take a keen interest in how our dear nation is being run and by whom”. She said, “We must all 'Arize!' and become positive 'Change Agents' in the 21st Century” She also brought to the attention of the house that “Power does not get given to anyone on a platter, you have to strategise and take it; then wield it for a progressive purpose! It's about time Nigeria's image both at home & abroad moves from that of hopeless to hopeful, so that we can now take our rightful place on the Global Socio-Political & Economic Stage”

When questioned about President Jonathan Goodluck there seemed to be a positive prospective of the president. The audience were impressed with his academic and social history.

They believed that President Goodluck had the necessary qualities to be a good leader commenting on him being able to empathise with the needs of the Nigerian people. That he is a man from the new generation who is modern and has the mental and physical ability to deal with the challenges of the modern world challenges as well as the ability to be innovative.

The majority believed that President Goodluck should be in power it does not matter if he is the south, south. As some few minority were concerned that it is the northern turn and the question is how do we nullify the zoning system of adopt without causing conflict, the young man George Osadebay answered and said it is time parties in Nigeria adapt change and the only consistent thing in life is change, this is new a Nigeria with complex issue that need new ways of handling these modern challenges. He went on and insists that President Goodluck should tell the people his position for 2011 and begin to educate people the need for change to move the country forward. Summarising that Nigeria needs a leader by merit who can deliver the peoples' mandate this argument was supported by the fellow panellists as they argued that we cannot follow that system as it is that system that has put Nigeria in its current state; arguing that “the hat should be given to the head it fits” meaning power should be given to whoever can control it, use it properly and deserve it.

Some of the public questioned whether President Goodluck should be in power or not, as they asked “how can he be a leader if he fails to capture the hearts and minds of the people” . Therefore they will like him to show how he believes that he can capture the heart of the people. The audience also seemed to question President Goodlucks actions of not releasing statements/ clear statement of whether he will run or not and not making his policies accessible to Nigerian. It was refreshing to observe that most of the audience said believe that the direction of his polices will determine the direction of their final approval of The President.

There was discussion on his campaigning schemes, asking his party members to modernise their tactics to use modern technology such as twitter, face book etc..To keep the public informed and updated. This will also enhance our trust as well as confidence in the President, knowing that your government contribute in this manner which in turn empowers as well as make information accessible to the general public.

Zoning
There was a general negative prospective at this idea. The majority believed that zoning creates further discrimination which Africa has seen enough of and is ineffective in keeping count of members of the Nigerian society and causes more violence between different tribes. A small minority of 2 believed that it improves understanding of the different zones.

Most people argued that zoning is an outdated system, and it is moving back to the “primitive era of Nigeria” and we must move forward as a nation and come together as people. In view of the fact that in the face of Globalisation it is difficult to have an enclave.

People argued that zoning leads to a poor distribution of wealth, and believe that the government has to use better regional policies to improve infrastructures, lower unemployment and improve the lives of people as a whole.

Nigerian Origin Youth in UK (organisation)
The youth of Nigeria gave the town hall meeting a big surprise as to there interest in the affairs back home the representative nick named the “ Young Obama of Nigeria” George Osadebay urged Goodluck to stop dithering and capture the hearts of the people, for 5 mins he spoke and the audience listened with keen interest, he discredited the zoning system and suggested the regional distribution of wealth is more advisable than hand picking who becomes the President of our great country. He talked about how we should become closer as a nation and that it will improve relations between the different relations of Nigeria, which may even encourage trade and improve social and external benefits in Nigeria. Though he commented that he was disappointed that zoning was even a topic as the issue of south, north, west or east is an era behind new Nigeria.

The youth were wearing different T-shirts which was put together by the youth leader George osadebay. The t-shirts had different messages which were:

1 “GEJ FOR NEW NIGERIA
2 President GOODLUCK BE DESCIVES AND RESTORE CONFIDENCES.

3 NO MORE, NO MORE with no entry image shenanigan of the 'zoning'

4 Nigeria let's give GEJ a chance.
5 You must run for Presidency.
6 No more recycled politician. etc
Corruption
People were concerned of the government's use of bribing to win votes, due to past incidents.

People viewed the past governments as being corrupt as they used such methods to influence the economy. They sought that that precious governments bought the “souls and minds of the people” and the people “sold it selling there children's future along with it”

Suggestions were made to improve voting systems by accounting for each individual Nigerian resident and placing police to monitor booths, to ensure no bribes are giving and people are not able to vote more than once. This way the voting system could reflect the minds of the Nigerian people. Educating Nigerians that when they accept such bribes that it is an indication of the sorry state of affairs. That the people should understand that they sell the future of their children and grandchildren when they accept such bribes.

Arguments were made that the Nigerian people have been starved and are hungry, so regardless of their moral values the hunger is enough for them to succumb to bribes, that in today's “day and age” the voting system will never totally reflect the minds of the people which is more reason to take measures to ensure it does and give a truthful view of who the Nigerian people believe should be in power.

There were also talks of journalism, how the Nigerian media seems to be giving bias points of view as the media should be free in a democracy to give the honest facts and figures to inform the Nigerian public. They should be integrity in their more for either on a critical piece or in supporting any view point.

In attendance: Notable Key Speakers, Panellist , Politicians and Diplomats

Speakers: Dr Larry Jones-Esan, Princess Deun, Christian udechkwu (absent) Mike Abiola, Princess Daun, George Osadebay, (youth)

A communiqué was read & distributed amongst all who attended. The meeting ended with people leaving in very high spirits, as The Co-ordinators assured guests that this indeed is the first of many such Town Meeting gatherings.

Panellists/Speakers
George Osdebay - Representing Youths of Nigerian Origin in UK

Mr A Collin - International Observer
Patrick Emuh
Hajia Mairo Collin
Abiola Manika
Mr Mike Abiola
Dr Larry Jones-Esan
Princess 'Deun Adedoyin-Solarin
Organising Team
Ola Ngozi Osadebay - Co-ordinator
Olayinka Oduneye
Chris I I Ehimuan
Emma Okah
Stella Alfard
Aselle Abigo