The Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Professor Ayo Omotosho, has called on the presidential candidates to leverage the opportunity provided by the institute to sell themselves to the electorate in Nigeria instead of going to Chatham House London for political discourse concerning their aspirations.
Professor Omotosho, who stated this in an interview with newsmen at the institute shortly after a presidential parley with presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Prince Adebayo Adewole, said there are capable think-tanks like NIPSS that can coordinate such debates and expose the candidates to the electorate.
“We are not condemning going to Chatham House in London, but the votes they need to be declared winners are here in Nigeria; the people that will vote for them are here. They could leverage NIPSS to popularize themselves,” he said.
He narrated that the Institute has been doing similar things and has on various occasions brought political party leaders through a Center for Political Parties for interactions and discourse on how to entrench democratic values and advance democracy in the country.
Professor Omotosho said he has been inundated with several calls in recent times on the need for NIPSS to be the Chatham House of Nigeria by organizing a debate for the presidential candidates, adding that the National Institute can do it.
The Director-General further explained that the wrong impression people have about Jos — that it is a volatile place — also contributed to why many are shying away from coming to the institute.
“We can offer more than what Chatham House is offering; maybe because we are in Jos, people always have the wrong impression that Jos is a volatile place.” Let me allay the fears of everyone. Jos is not as volatile as people think; it is as safe as Abuja. Anyone who wants to come to Jos should feel free to do so.
“Under my leadership, I want to ensure that NIPSS achieves greater visibility.” All the good things that the institute has done will be brought to the fore. We have various reports that provide solutions to Nigeria’s problems. In 2024, former President Goodluck Jonathan posited that if Nigerians had made use of twenty percent of the solutions prescribed by the participants of the Institute, Nigeria wouldn’t have problems.
He pointed out that the Institute is making efforts to reach out to presidential candidates, especially the big four, to come to NIPSS and talk to Nigeria before the presidential election.
He said, “Going to Chatham House to talk to those who will not vote is wrong; NIPSS is a better venue for this exercise to propagate your ideas and manifesto.”
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