Audu Maikori needs no introduction. He is a lawyer, an entrepreneur, social activist, public speaker and creative industry professional. Maikori is also the Founder and President of the Chocolate City group and is to many youths a mentor. In this interview, Audu speaks about the imperative for Nigerians to attend the House of Justice Summit coming up on Tuesday December 19th, 2017 at Kaduna, Nigeria. He gives his reasons and more.
Recently you have been seen not only endorsing the House of Justice Summit/ dinner but promoting it. Why it is important that Nigerians attend this event?
Because the need for dialogue has never been more dire. Until we have progressive, constructive conversations and consultations we will not be able to form the much needed consensus about the myriad of issues that we face as a nation. HOJ summit is pan Nigerian in focus and very nationalistic in its themes and topics, the objectives it stands for should not only be commended but emulated.
The theme of the event which is Building a Nation of Justice and Peace, comes across as poignant. Nigeria has had quite some challenging problems this year: The Nigeria – Biafra debacle, the herdsman security problem, just to mention but a few. How can the country be repositioned to address insecurity and injustice? It has always been a matter of poor communication and poor leadership. We have grown into a country where ethnic /religious and class biases divide us and have even changed our sense of unity and purpose. Where there is no justice there is no peace says the popular adage; but if we look at some of the agitations across the country, they stem from the fact that the people who are aggrieved are victims of some sort of injustice or a total lack of justice; this is where good communication helps to foster dialogue and resolution between the aggrieved parties. Closely linked to that is good leadership. Good leadership across all levels of government from the executive, legislature, the judiciary and even the citizenry. Good leadership will ensure the fairness, equity and objectivity of the process by which issues are resolved or dealt with. The country is failing because of a lack of good leaders. We need to develop platforms that help to discover and develop good leadership across all levels of society and governance. This summit is one of those crucial platforms.
The organizers of the event have noted that young Nigerians with good heads will engage on a social media storm on December 19th to further conversations on how to build Nigeria to last. Why is it important for young people to own the conversation about the future of the Country?
The reason it is important is because they have long said to the youths that they are the future and the youth realize that tomorrow never comes, so it’s their actions today that determine if there will be a tomorrow hence the need to get involved now. But beyond social media, what is even more important is social action. The youth must move from the thought to action; anyone can take out his/her phone and say what they like but if the youth must take responsibility it must translate to real life outcomes. I also recognize that the average Nigerian youth has very few leaders, mentors role models and/or political figures they can look up to and be inspired. So can we really blame them for participating the best way they can i.e remotely? When they look at elected officials that only talk it but don’t walk it, can you blame their apathy? When the leadership has failed to deliver on practically all the promises they made to the youth during their campaigns, when they have been taught that all you need is money to win elections and their votes don’t count, do you blame them from abstaining from voting? We truly can’t blame them thus the need for us to focus on leadership development and capacity building as a means to begin to breed a new set of leaders, a new Nigeria for a new type of Nigerians.
Sadly, many Nigerians still value their small enclaves than they do the bigger identity of being Nigerians. What do you think is the major reason for that?
Because we have been sold the idea and the perception that we are first from a tribe, clan, village, community, local government or a state before we are Nigerian. We say that our multi-cultural make-up is our weakness but this is totally untrue- it is our strength. Look at America, it was (and is) formed by different people with far more diverse cultures, tribes and tongues than Nigeria- what they did was to forge unity through their flag, their constitution and the story of a united nation. We must learn the good parts of that story. Today a Hausa man cannot be a commissioner in Imo State and vice versa but in London Nigerian immigrants are winning local government(equivalent) elections with no qualms…this shows that our tribalism is even worse than any hues and cries of racism. We must de-tribalise and re –Nigerianise.
General Yakubu Gowon, Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce, Emir of Birnin Gwari, Prof. Jerry Gana, Sen. Binta Masi Garba, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu Otto Orondaam, Dorothy Edem Ossai are some of the notable Nigerians that will attend the summit. Is there anything about the composition of these guests that leave you hopeful?
One thing they all share is that they are all highly accomplished, educated ad experienced individuals who have distinguished themselves in their careers both in private and public service. you couldn’t ask for a more colorful representation of Nigerian diversity, experience and richness… the females too add full colour to the parade.!
What is your impression about the House of Justice?
It’s a novel organization and has always set the standard in terms of advocacy for social justice and consciousness not just within Kaduna but has been able to gradually influence the nation as a whole. I believe it deserves even more support and I am sure it will only continue to grow and develop over the years. Kudos to Barrister Gloria Mabeiam Ballason for her vision, tenacity and drive and also kudos to the organizers of this wonderful event.
Any last words?
Silence construes acceptance, if we fail to speak up when things are going wrong in our society, then we are as guilty as those the perpetrate the wrongs in our society itself.