Speak up on national unity, Osinbajo tells policy elite

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said there was the need for Nigeria’s policy elite to contribute to matters of national concern and public discourse, especially on national unity.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the vice president made the appeal when he received the executive council of the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Osinbajo said that while politicians would be in office for a time, policy and intellectual elite would always be around and therefore should not leave public discourse to politicians.

The vice president, who is also the Chairman of the NIPSS Governing Council, harped on the need for the nation’s policy elite to contribute to the debates on national development.

“I think that this question of national unity is one that we must look at very carefully and must proffer ideas and solutions to issues.

“Even if we are not in government, we as intellectuals are supposed to ensure that, in terms of direction, we are heard; it is up to us to advise and to be as vocal as possible, and we have so many channels to give advice.

“If you look at the quality of debates or sometimes the acrimony with which debates on national unity are proffered, you will find that unless something is done, a time will come when it will be impossible to have any kind of decent debate.

“Those who are extremists will take over the public space because those who have a stake in ensuring that the country is united are not saying anything.

“So, I think it is very important that we, as policy elite, develop a position; there is no question at all that if we keep quiet and nothing is said, space will be taken over by those who have not had the chance of seriously considering the issues.”

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