On November 29, AUN held a Town Hall meeting as part of the activities of the Founder's Day celebration held the day after.
The second televised meeting was held in partnership with Gotel Communications and supported by The British Council on the theme, "Strengthening Institutions for Peace Building."
Vice President for University Relations, Dr. Abba Tahir, said the idea for the town hall meeting is to give a cross-section of people in Yola and the environs who are vested with maintaining peace an avenue to discuss insecurity and proffer solutions.
"An institution of higher learning is not just an edifice with professors theorizing and philosophizing. We are pushing the envelope and trying innovative ideas to foster peaceful coexistence."
Abdullahi Ahmed of TV Gotel, who moderated the program, said the public discussion was a way of continuing a long-standing tradition of having people dialogue with one another to foster peace.
The panelists were former Secretary to the State Government Adamawa State, Umar Buba Bindir; Assistant Professor in the AUN School of Law, Dr. Erebi Ndoni; Interim Dean of the AUN School of Graduate Studies, Prof. Chris Mbah; Director of Center for Security & Peace Studies at MAUTECH, Gambo Matudi, and the former Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Umar Buba Bindir.
Dr. Ndoni opined that there is a need to abolish all forms of discrimination. "If we need to achieve development, we first need to get the institutions in positions where they would be able to carry out their functions without discrimination."
One of the major forms of discrimination which she detests is the identification of people based on the state of origin.
The affiliation of people to a state of origin is counter-productive in the context of building the whole of Nigeria. It hinders people whose parents are not from a location but by the work they do in the location, they have become integrated into the community where they also live.
She submitted that abolishing the state of origin would provide them the opportunity to be able to run for election, represent the people who live there.
"If we do that then we would increase the accountability that we expect from these institutions."
Dr. Mbah spoke about the importance of having well-established institutions.
"If you make policies that are not driven by well-established institutions, it is difficult to get those things to be sustainable in the long term."
He said good institutions should be a very important focus for nations that desire development.
"Sometimes, the institutions are not as strong as they should be. A lot of attention is not duly paid to them. But formulating policies that are not rooted for strong institutions that will implement and manage them is a little bit flawed."
In his submission, Mr. Matudi wished that all the ethnic groups were dissolved into one indivisible unit.
"We are still grasping with issues of identity in this country - 370 ethnic groups, 700 linguistic groupings in this nation. It is a task for any government to integrate them and push them towards a direction."
He also opined that the government needs to anchor its development plan on the people.
"Until we build a formidable center that we take care of Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, and region, I think our journey towards building a viable and stable nation remains a wild dream."
To build a better Nigeria, Engr. Bindir identified three stakeholders, the government, academia, and the traditional leaders. He said the people in government need to recognize that governance is about responsibility, and, the academia should recognize that moving forward is about enhancing the doing skills and capacities of young people and the traditional leaders being recognized empowered constitutional-wise and being empowered by the constitution.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa