Town Hall meetings serve as connecting bridge – Minister

Solomon Chung, Enugu

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the town hall meetings being held across the country by the Federal Government provide an avenue for both the government and the governed to exchange ideas.

”It’s not so much about the government explaining its programmes and policies but also about those who are governed expressing their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. What I found today is that there is a lot of misconception and prejudices, which this kind of platform will throw more light on,” the Minister told newsmen at the end of the South-East Edition of the town hall meeting in Enugu.

He said each part of the country has its unique and peculiar challenges, and that sustained and robust engagement through the town hall meetings will provide the veritable platform to correct some of the misconceptions and throw more light on government’s policies and programme.

“The major takeaway is that there is no substitute to such meeting because it provides the avenue and vehicle for both the government and the governed to exchange ideas. You can imagine the kind of questions we received today, either on agriculture or appointment or infrastructural development. Clearly, at the end of the day, I felt better because we were able to explain to our brothers and sisters here that this government will not marginalise any part of the country,” Mohammed said.

Also speaking to newsmen after the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said as a follow up to the town hall meetings, cabinet ministers would soon hold a retreat to discuss and articulate ways through which they can enhance service delivery to
Nigerians.

“Very soon we will have a cabinet retreat where all ministers will come together and discuss issues and find out what people’s reactions are and how we can help each other to solve the problems as well. It’s a finer way of running a country. Keep in touch with the people and they will tell you what they don’t like or what they are unhappy about and suggest to you how to do it,” Chief Ogbe said.

On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, said through the economic diplomacy initiated by this administration, his ministry would create more avenues for Nigerians to access foreign investors and partners in order to enhance the quality of their businesses.

“We want to build a platform to empower ordinary Nigerians to be able to access any market anywhere in the world and that’s why we are working to produce match-making database, where we will be putting in touch Nigerian businesses that want to sell to potential markets and Nigerians who are looking for investors and partners,” he said.

The Enugu town hall meeting was the fifth in a series that started in Lagos on April 25th 2016 and has now been held in Kaduna, Kano and Uyo.

At the town hall meeting, host Minister, Lai Mohammed was joined by the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama; Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah; Health, Prof.Isaac Adewole; Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachukwu and the Minister of State for Environment, Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibrin.