Nigeria to hold Ethics Summit

Solomon Chung, Lagos

The Nigerian government has said there is going to be a massive nation-wide campaign, tagged “CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME,” which is a rejuvenated “War Against Indiscipline-WAI”.

To herald the campaign, the Ministry of Information and Culture is also planning to hold a Summit on National Rebirth, Values and Ethics in July this year.

This emanated from being worried about the erosion of values, widespread indiscipline, dwindling integrity and poor attitude to work.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this in Lagos on Friday, said the essence of the campaign is to make Nigerians to realize that the change they so much desire will start with them.

“If the Danfo driver will stop drinking ‘paraga’ before hitting the road, if the patent medicine store operator will stop selling fake drugs, if the average worker will carry out his or her duties diligently, our society will be a better place,” the Minister said.

Information flow
He said the present administration is committed to ensuring a free flow of information.

This is because democracy as a system of government cannot thrive without an unfettered information flow.

Mr. Mohammed said in assessing the administration’s performance so far, it is necessary to put things in perspective.

He stated that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), campaigned on three broad areas: To tackle insecurity, fight corruption and revive the economy.

He stressed that, “On the fight against insecurity, undoubtedly the biggest that faced the new administration when we assumed office on 29 May 2015, we have performed a rare feat by subduing boko haram, making it impossible for the group to carry out any more spectacular attacks.”

On the fight against corruption, there is no doubt, according to him that the administration has raised the bar and also succeeded in making it a topical issue in the country.

The Minister attributed part of that success to the sensitisation campaign launched earlier this year.

He said Nigerians now know the cost of corruption, instead of just talking about it in the abstract.

“We are winning the war against corruption, which is undoubtedly the biggest war we can fight.”

He then attributes the economic crunch to the drop in oil price. This poses a great challenge to this administration.

“Think about this: If you lose 70 per cent of your monthly salary, your life can never be the same again. At its worst level, oil crashed from over 100 dollars to about 30 dollars a barrel. It has recently inched up to over 40 dollars per barrel, but that is still very low, compared to a high level of over 100 dollars per barrel. For a mono-product economy, this short-fall is nothing short of disaster.

But the administration has decided to turn this disaster to a blessing by working assiduously to diversify our economy away from oil. Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Culture and Tourism are some of the sectors we are currently working to rejuvenate so they can earn huge revenues for the country and create jobs.”

2016 budget
Speaking on the 2016 budget, which was signed into law on Friday, he said the administration’s strategy to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty is still intact and ready to be rolled out.

 “We plan to do this through six social intervention areas that will greatly impact on the economy as well as on lives,” he added.