Resource persons and participants at Social Action’s Leadership Training Camp which held from the 23rd to the 27th of September 2014, have stressed the need for Nigerians to begin identifying alternative development frameworks different from that which is presented by the major political parties in the country. This call was made on the reasoning that the 2 major political parties- the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples’ Democratic Party- have failed to present manifestos which convincingly demonstrates how they intend to take Nigeria our of its present precarious state.
Speaker after speaker at the 5 day event which held at the Imo state capital Owerri, stressed the uncanny similarities between both parties, and the fluidity of traffic between both. Speaking on the topic Neither the APC nor the PDP, former Convener of the United Action for Democracy and Member of the just concluded National Conference, JayeGaskia described the difference between both parties as that between 12 and half a dozen. ‘Both parties have failed to put across credible alternative paradigms. They have failed to tell Nigerians what exactly they will do differently and how. They have instead demonstrated with certainty that they still subscribe to the politics of mudslinging and conquest”
In his presentation on the topic A Nation in Decline: Ethno Nationalism, Religious Fundamentalism and Corruption, former member of the National Assembly, Uche Onyeagocha decried how fast the country had declined down the loathsome route of ethnic and religious fundamentalism and corruption. He reckoned that the sentiments associated with religion and ethnicity has been fanned by vested interests who have utilized it to divide Nigerians. He proposed that Nigerians should rather look beyond seeming differences and take action which will lead to social transformation.
Speaking on the topic Reconceptualizing Development in Africa: An Alternative Framework, Professor Andrew Efemini of the Department of Philosophy, University of Port Harcourt stated that what successive governments in Nigeria have presented to the people since independence cannot be properly conceived as development.According to him, development was more comprehensive than mere growth in different sectors, and it is even worse when buildings and urban beautification projects are presented as signs of development. “It (development) goes beyond this or that infrastructure, it is the totally of the well being of man from the time he or she is born, to the time he or she dies. Development is measured on this scale”
Other speakers at the event included popular lawyer Wisdom Dureke, Felix Ashimole and Ken Henshaw.
Social Action’s Camps are annual gatherings of young activists drawn from youth groups, student bodies and communities who are keen on grassroots mobilization and have attended other Social Action political education processes.
The Camp meeting which was the 7th in a series had the theme From Theory to Action: Building Platforms and Campaigns for Social Change, and drew participant from over 16 states in the country.