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Lalong’s Social Inclusion Model: A Sure Cure For Nigeria’s Prevailing Unrest

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Written by: Sanni Inuwa Baba

Social inclusion has continued to remain topical in Nigeria from one era to another. Authors with good historic memories have referred to lack of social inclusion as the major endemic that caused the first ever coup d’état in Nigeria. If this is true, could it be the same reason for the second coup and several other social dissatisfaction? 

To set the tone for our discuss, social inclusion can be viewed as the provision of certain rights to all or MOST individuals and groups in society (particularly citizens of a country) such as employment, political positions, health care, education and empowerment, etc 

There is no perfect society with full social inclusion; I agree, there is a global recession; I agree, government does not have enough resources to carter for all at the same time. It is debatable. When all of the above become a daily answer for social inclusion by the government, the society

naturally plunges into a destructive ravine. Of course this may lead to dissatisfaction, political apathy, and eventually explosion of the gunpowder according to the Marxist theory. 

For a long time, different ethnic groups in the country have been feeling marginalized and let to the questioning of the Nigeria’s constitution whether it was dubious or strategically designed to satisfy or please a particular group or a certain region and easily created the concept of power shift rather than performance or policy. Elections have become more about sentimental issues rather than scrutinizing on an individual’s agenda. 

I do not in any way intend to remind us of the things we may already know, but in every society, there is always a model that can help solve certain perceived ills. Consider Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau state, barely a year after his assumption to office, with months of meetings and talks between the warring communities, he brought 56 ethnic groups together and they all signed a declaration for peace and harmonious relationship, signaling an end to many years of crises and a beginning of exonerating one another. 

On that day, he explained that peace building will be the cardinal objective of his administration and described peace as the only condition for meaningful development in the state. The state was indeed a fact, looking at how Plateau State was before the crisis and how it is today. The same applies to everywhere in the absence of peace for instance, Tripoli, Sanaa and Damascus. “Imagine Gov. Lalong’s line of thought”

Lalong created the Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PPBA), which has just been passed to law by the House of Assembly, whose main purpose is to create a common ground for a peaceful resolution of conflict and most importantly being proactive in preventing violence. According to the Director-General of the new Agency, “Our idea is to develop a five-year strategic plan through q benchmarking exercise that identifies good practices, highlight key lessons learned including a calendar to specify key intervention areas, outline activities, indicators and responsibilities at different levels.

We need a clear strategy that leverages our capacity to foster collaborative partnerships with other agencies of government, private sector, civil society, development partners and grass roots communities.

Another strategy taken by Lalong-led government is the inclusive governance. He makes sure that everyone is having a self-belonging in his government unminding the tribal differences, religious affiliations and/or political parties involved. There was representation from literally all the ethnicities. The aim was to ensure equal opportunities which gave members of the community feel self-importance in the participation of the decision making processes. The unselfish attitude created a social cohesion in the environment. Can you imagine Lalong’s line of thought?

Cultural diversity has been showcased on regular basis around plateau state focusing on unity, such as the famous Nzem Berom Festival of 2016 and 2017 which were themed “A Cultural Brand for Unity, Peace and Progress” and “culture and education as tools for unity and progress

“Also in Wase, the Wase Fulani Consultative Forum on Western Education (WAFUCOFUWE), whose aim was to strengthen mutual coexistence with the ethnic groups in those areas showcased their beauty and culture. This is realization of the fact that no society grows in an environment of rancor. 

What about Lalong’s appointment strategy? When Gov. Lalong came to power, apart from some people feeling neglected in the state’s affair, others were motivated by poverty. The amazing thing he did was making sure that everyone felt part of the government by giving various appointments across the state. Then he made sure that salary was being paid on time and schools that were shut for very long time were opened. He then gave massive employment to many youths from every part of the state and empowerment through the Plateau Small Enterprises Development Agency, which drastically reduced many devilish activities. If this could work for Gov. Lalong in the former social unrest- stricken plateau, what makes us then think it cannot work for Nigeria?

Nigerians would continue to agitate for True Federalism as long as they are hungry and jobless. It is very easy a task to govern Nigeria, should you be able to listen to the fact that when they say restructure the country, what they really mean is include all of us socially. Although many Nigerians have decided to keep mute on such a sensitive matter for the fear of creating enemies within or outside their communities, especially those who have contrary perspectives, truth is that silence isn’t golden. 

Any government with a clear purpose and with a will to make a positive impact to its citizens must work towards having a peaceful environment and carry everyone along. It should be noted that when social inclusion is promoted and supported in all public affairs, cycles of exclusion and traditional blockades (structural and perceived) will begin to dismantle. In order to have inclusive governance, a government has to be sincere in putting in place policies that are transparent and just.

It must be strategically and sincerely tailored to address a diverse population. If it will succeed, members of the society will have to participate and contribute his/her societal responsibilities; however, government at all levels must ensure equal treatment. Hence, every member has equal opportunities and access, equal rights and responsibilities, and is able to participate in all aspects of their life activities.

This is my lesson from Gov. Lalong’s Model of Social Inclusion.

Thank you.

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Opinion Polls

Coronavirus Pandemic: A pandemonium with a tendency to make humanity extinct 

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Humanity has always been at the receiving latitude at all times. Whether it is war, hunger, plague or any social vice-vices one can think of. Today, the scary word is corona. It has come with no mercy to fight and beat us. 
 
Currently, Coronavirus has claimed over 8,800 innocent lives with over 220,000 begging for urgent help according to reports. This is another mass destruction.
 
Across the globe today, the economy is at the mercy of Coronavirus, a situation that is pathetic. Unfortunately, there seems to be no obvious solution, while the world lives in gross fear and apprehension. 
 
However, the rain of COVID-19 is not falling on selected roof. Many nation is facing a total lockdown and no one knows what might happen tomorrow.
 
This is a wake-up call for both Government and citizens of Nigeria to respond in all capacity that would ensure a united force and collaboration against Coronavirus. Nigeria shall stand strong. WE SHALL OVERCOME!
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Music

Why DJ Cuppy Should Quit Music As An Artist

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If you are a Nigerian, you most likely already know who DJ Cuppy is. Ms. Otedola is a Business and Economics graduate who also has a Master’s Degree in Music Business from New York University, USA. She is a renowned Dj and the daughter of Nigerian Businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola.

Many Nigerians got to know Dj Cuppy when she started Djing in Nigeria. Personally, I believe she is a talented Dj and has done well to inspire many upcoming DJs in Africa, regardless of status or ethnic group. However, I strongly believe Dj. Cuppy will make a lot more impact as a music business mogul. That is, instead of just continuing to DJ, produce and perform as an artist, she should consider investing in the industry as a record label owner like the likes of Don Jazzy and Davido.

That is, Dj Cuppy can upgrade her music management and content production business, Red Velvet Music Group to a creative media & entertainment company.

She has the capacity to pull the capital needed to make this happen in a major way. I envision a huge warehouse-like building in Lagos. Partitioned to house a mega music studio, a dance studio, a film studio, and even a music museum. Do you see where this is going?  

You were probably expecting me to bash her, right?. But no, this is not one of those – put the person down articles. Not at all. We are not about that life on steadygettingit.com. It’s all about empowering people over here, especially young Nigerians. Now let’s get back to our very own adorable Ms. Cuppy and why she should consider doing more than just singing or djing.

Posterity will smile on her for creating an avenue for a lot more talented individuals in Nigeria to attain limelight. She was able to pull the who is who in society together to raise over 5 billion Naira for her foundation recently. I have no doubt that she can make a record label and a lot more happen. Do you agree? Do you think she has the potential for success as a record label executive? Feel free to share your opinion in the comment section. 

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