ADDRESS TO A ONE DAY CONFERENCE ON DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: A TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
REV. MATHIAS B. YASHIM CLIENT SERVICE DIRECTOR
HOPE BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL CONSULT LTD
We are an organization that is committed to building leadership, youth mobilization and empowerment, and strengthening democratic practices in governance. In general, we strive to bring about good governance and development in Nigeria. Our activities in the past have, among others, included organizing public discourses and seminars, mobilizing and encouraging the youth to assume leadership roles and to fully participate in political and social activities in our environment. Our core values among others include: Professional excellence, community development, openness, generosity, resourcefulness, and accountability. How do we go about all these? We collaborate with Government agencies, Religious Organizations, and other Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the provision of social programs and services to youths. We also co-operate with other international organizations having purposes consistent with ours in building hope in needy individuals.
Today’s turbulent times call for wisdom that is grounded in sound and tested practices. After all, it’s confusing to go through constant change without a way to make sense of it. After winning or loosing election what next? It is the fight against bad governance and Modeling transformational leadership. Therefore we the Hope Builders believe that we have the responsibility, as well as the right to participate in the government of our country by organising a conference like this one with the theme: DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: A TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION. The aim of this conference is to help participants to identify the ways in which they can be of service to the government right from the grassroot to the top, whether through superb products, great services, or jobs well done either as political appointees, elected legislators or executives. We also hope to provide constructive and viable recommendations for dealing with democracy-building challenges in our society.
A basis for stable democracy is social cohesion – consolidation of plurality of citizenship and reducing inequality and socio-economic disparities and fractures in the society. Social cohesion refers to people’s relationships and interactions in society, including the role of citizenship. Democracy and social cohesion are complementary parts of including in the public decision-making, active citizenship with both rights and responsibilities.
In order to arrive at a balance between individual rights and collective responsibilities for sustainable democratic societies, issues of disparities, inequalities and discrimination must be addressed. Democracy will be undermined in societies with wide-spread poverty and growing gaps between societal groups. Such problems are high in our present democratic system. The solution to this is to support more participatory approaches to democracy and institution building. We feel that this audience and young adults in general are vital to the process of development and democracy. Young adults shape every aspect of our human development. We work with youths to create the opportunity for them to become active citizens who understand that they have rights and responsibilities. This would enable them to fully participate in development projects that create opportunities for themselves and their communities. We are of the firm belief that there are individuals committed to and are driving change, the organizational support required for sustainability and great impact is lacking. Today is a day of impartation and motivation.
This conference is not simply about hope builders, but all about being different. We chose this theme because it is an issue that we have been considering for over six months. Everyone of us at one time or the other gets disappointed with our democratic system. We celebrate when we see Christians in political offices. After all, they are children of God. But everyone out there just seems to behave like the other people. Nobody seems to be outstanding in any way. There is no distinction, as far as we could see, between the Christians and the non Christians apart from the religions. We have come to realize that the reason nothing seems to be changing is simply that no one dares to be different.
If I can leave you with one piece of advice it will be this: pay attention and learn. Don’t go out of this hall to be like them. I know that you all have abundance of potentials within you individually and you will bring all out to fruition. I wish you all a wonderful time together.
Thank you and God bless you.
The conference was largely successful despite the disappointments from some areas. The chairman of the occasion was Dr. Zwaqhu K. A. Bonat of the Center for Population and Development Kaduna. His address was titled: Dividends of Democracy and Good Governance; A Panacea to Security Challenges in Nigeria. The guest speaker, Professor James Kantyok of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; spoke on the theme of the conference. There were several other contributions from the invited guests including Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Kuzwanuam. There were also contributions and questions from participants. In her normal character and doing what she knows how to do best, Eudia rendered song and recited a poem on Kaduna state and Nigeria as a nation.
At the close of the conference, the organizers, Hope builders international, promise the participants that there will be a follow up on the theme due to importance the group attached to the subject at hand. The follow up will come in form of a two day workshop for the various organizations that participated in the conference. All together, there were 22 different groups that registered in the one day conference.