Let me formally welcome the distinguished Alumni of the National Institute, at whose behest we have put together this Special Town Hall Meeting. May I also welcome my colleagues in the cabinet for honouring our invitation to be here. Their presence here testifies to the fact that this Administration is always willing to engage with Nigerians to explain its policies and programmes, as well as seek the necessary input from them.
2. Please permit me to commend members of the Alumni Association of The National Institute, or AANI, for their patriotism. In their letter to us requesting this Special Town Hall Meeting, they said because they were inspired by what they termed the renewed activism in governance by the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration to link budget outcomes with target plans, they have decided to compliment the efforts of government. The Alumni Association thereby proposed this meeting, which they tagged a ”one-day policy engagement”.
3. This is very impressive. At a time that some individuals and groups have made it their pastime to continually castigate government over an economic situation which is not its own making, but has been working hard to mitigate, this Association has chosen instead to engage with the government. In other words, by their decision to hear from the government, ask questions and also make their own input, AANI has chosen to be a part of the solution, rather than to compound the challenges.
4. I must say, however, that I am not surprised. AANI is a highly credible platform, which is made up of people who have influenced the course of our country’s history. The icing on the cake is that we have, as the chair of this Special Town Hall Meeting, one of the most respected traditional rulers, in person of His Eminence, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto, who is also the Chairman, AANI Heritage Council.
5. While once again commending AANI, let me also appeal to other organizations across the country to emulate the Alumni Association by joining hands with the government to move our country forward. The task of nation building is for all Nigerians. Government alone cannot do it.
6. I will now cede the podium to my colleagues to give their opening statements. Each Honorable Minister will give a five-minute overview of the policies and programmes of his or her ministry, after which they will take questions from the audience.
7. May I then call on the Honorable Minister of…….. to make his/her presentation.