The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has advised government officials to be open minded, flexible and receptive to new ideas in the interest of the people. He gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja at a special Town Hall/Policy Dialogue for Good Governance, organised by the Alumni Association of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (AANI). The theme of the meeting, which was organised in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was `
`Towards Effective Implementation of the 2016 Budget’’. The Sultan, who was the Chairman of the meeting, stressed that there was nothing wrong if a Government reviewed its policy midway if such policy was not favourable to the people. While noting that the benefits of the meeting could not be overemphasised, the Sultan stressed that every leader in addition to his personal responsibilities, most be accountable to his subjects. `
`If the mass of people are groaning and saying we are suffering economic deprivations, those in authority must listen and prepare to initiate policy change for the betterment of all. “This engagement is even important for the Government which came to power on the mantra of change.
The expectations of the mass of Nigerians are legitimately high. “However, we must emphasise that changes as desirable, are often difficult to realise, it at times comes with difficulties and challenges but there will always be ease for those who persevere.’’
The traditional ruler maintained that in managing change, government must be open to suggestions and be prepared to do a policy review for the security and welfare of all. Abubakar III stressed that even change was constant in a change process.
He congratulated the National Executive Council of AANI for their initiative and foresight in organising the meeting with the Federal Government, with special focus on the implementation of the 2016 budget. The Sultan also commended the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for giving practical meaning to consultation and accountability in government through such meetings with citizens. Besides, he also commended federal government’s efforts at combating insurgency in the North East, but added that there was still much to be done to improve the country’s security especially in the Niger Delta region.
Abubakar III added that the effectiveness of the meeting rest on its impact on the people, adding that the proper implementation of the budget is critical to putting the country’s economy in shape. The meeting, which was attended by the Ministers of Agriculture; Power, Works and Housing; Finance, Information and Culture; Budget and National Planning, and Foreign Affairs, was the sixth in the series of nationwide town hall meetings. The ministers took time to brief the audience on what the federal government was doing in their various ministries to address the country’s challenges and improve her economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was also attended by traditional rules, members of the Diplomatic Corp and Civil Society Organisations, among others.