HardTalk Host, Steve Sackur to Anchor Business Hallmark town hall meeting
Steve Sackur

OBINNA EZUGWU

Renowned British journalist and host of BBC’s popular interview programme, Hard Talk, Steve Sackur will host this year’s edition of Business Hallmark Newspaper’s Town Hall meeting billed to hold at the Shehu Musa YarAdua Centre, Abuja on May 25.

The periodic event which is organised by the Newspaper’s Public Policy Forum for the purpose of analysing public policies and charting the way forward for Nigeria’s developmental challenges, will this year, focus on how best to tackle the country’s infrastructural deficit.

It will also be an opportunity to appraise President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s infrastructure drive.

Announcing the programme for this year’s event, tagged ‘Nigeria’s Infrastructural Revolution; Road to a new Future’ at a press conference held in Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday, Sir Marc Wabara Chairman of the Public Policy Forum, said the special townhall meeting will feature a select cast of outstanding performers, agents of the infrastructural transformation at federal, state and private sector levels.

Those expected to participate at the event include Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation; Sen Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation; Barr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Minister of Works and Housing and Alh Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.

Others are Dr Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State; Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State; Engr Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi State and Prof. Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River State, among others.

“In another eight weeks, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will be six years in office. Despite the global economic and environmental challenges, it seems to have laid a foundation for the nation’s industrial rebirth by its massive investments in key infrastructure,” Wabara said.

“The administration has executed and continues to support projects in critical sectors such as rail transportation, Port Infrastructure, roads and bridges, housing, aviation, power and ICT across the six geopolitical zones of the country. Despite the administration’s other challenges, it has on infrastructure, shown an uncommon commitment and resilience in ensuring that it delivers on these initiatives.

L-R: Editor, Business Hallmark, Mr. Okey Onyenweaku; Chairman, Business Hallmark Public Policy Forum, Sir Marc Wabara and Executive Director, Dr. Betty Emeka- Obasi, during the press conference at Morning Side Suites, Victoria Island, Wednesday.
L-R: Editor, Business Hallmark, Mr. Okey Onyenweaku; Chairman, Business Hallmark Public Policy Forum, Sir Marc Wabara and Executive Director, Dr. Betty Emeka- Obasi, during the press conference at Morning Side Suites, Victoria Island, Wednesday.

“Business Hallmark has from inception, taken an activist role in analysing policy, especially public policies which is why the Business Hallmark Public Policy Forum was birthed a decade ago. Initially chaired by Professor George Obiozor who is currently on sabbatical offering community service to mother land, we have in these past ten years strived to engage in the arduous task of challenging the permissive ignorance of economic policy formulation and implementation. In the process, we have brought to our various platforms of engagement; public lectures, townhall meetings and interviews, policy makers across the very broad divide of government, private sector, religion and civil society to analyse and elucidate on government policies, implementation details and its planned outcomes.

“Deriving from this commitment, we are organising a special townhall meeting to feature a select cast of outstanding performers, agents of the infrastructural transformation at federal, state and private sector levels. The event tagged Nigeria’s Infrastructural Revolution; Road to a new Future will hold in Abuja on the 25th of May, 2021. Expected participants include; Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, Sen Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, Barr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Minister of Works and Housing and Alh Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.

“Expected governors include; Dr Kayode Fayemi, of Ekiti State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, of Kaduna State, Engr Dave Umahi, of Ebonyi State and Prof. Ben Ayade, of Cross River State. Others are Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, and Mr Godin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria. They would be joined by select industry players and civil society groups at the event scheduled for the Shehu Musa YarAdua Centre. The elder statesman, Chief Odigie Oyegun will chair the event.

“This blue-ribbon cast will be grilled by none less than the celebrated talkshow host Steve Sackur of the BBC HardTalk fame and renowned economist and public policy commentator our own, Dr Alex Otti. It indeed, promises to be an epochal event.

“We find this task to be most ennobling particularly at a time like this when our nation is in very clear need of every support. We trust that through initiatives like this and the accompanying discourse that comes with it, we would have contributed our own quota towards the Greater Nigeria Project.

“We therefore are most encouraged that better days would yet come for us as a nation and people. We are indeed most hopeful and trust that you would join us in making this event the success we envisage.

The last edition of the Town Hall meeting held in 2017, tagged: “The Made in Nigeria Campaign and National Economic Revival,” was held at the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Victoria Island Lagos.

Speakers included the guest lecturer, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Chairman of the occasion, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; Chairman, Business Hallmark Public Policy Advisory Board, Prof George Obiozor; Chairman, among others.