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President Jonathan hand pick National conference list of delegates sparks anger.


 

Even before it begins, the National Conference is generating acrimony – the very ailment it is expected to tackle.

The talk shop to which 492 delegates have been invited is to be inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan next Monday. It will be chaired by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Lagbo Kutigi.

But the Ogoni in Rivers State, the Itsekiri of Delta State and Pensioners, among others, rejected the list yesterday. They are angry that they have been “sidelined”.

The coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOS) in the Northeast has also rejected the delegates’ list.

Besides, a top official of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the opposition party might not be keen on filling the two slots allotted it at the conference.

But a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the conference should be given the benefit of the doubt to succeed.

He urged President Jonathan not to reduce its outcome and concessions to “mere advisory significances”.

The APC chief, who is a member of the Interim National Executive Committee (NEC), doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity.

He said: “If they are still waiting for the list of delegates from the APC, they may have to wait till eternity. If they are waiting for our list before they start it, then, the conference will not hold. Our opinion and disposition are known. They need to understand where we stand.”

Asked to comment on the participation in the conference of some APC chieftains nominated by state governments and other bodies, he said they are not representing the interest of the opposition party.

“There is no evidence that the conference will solve Nigeria’s problems. As at today, we have no delegates’ list. The people expecting us to send a list are not blind and they are not deaf. Our position is clear,” the official said.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) at the weekend wrote the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, protesting it exclusion.

The union said: “We are strongly protesting the exclusion of our Union from the National conference, which, if not quickly redressed, would lead to mass protest by pensioners all over Nigeria.

“We humbly call on Your Excellency, to use your good offices to rectify this ugly situation as soon as possible. This issue has been referred to the Nigeria Labour Congress for quick intervention as well.”

In the letter dated March 7, titled: “National Conference Nomination: Letter of Protest”, the NUP National President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said the six slots that were allotted to retired civil servants were all for the Council of Retired Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS).

According to the the letter, the NUP should have been consulted as the major stakeholders representing the interest of the entire civil service retirees/ pensioners.

Afolayan added: “Ironically, other related retirees’ associations, such as the military, the police, State Security Service, were all given slots to represent the interests of their members with the exception of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

“Regrettably, the presence of the National President of the union at the office of the SGF on the 5th of March, 2014 to protest this oversight was rebuffed by the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) of the office of the SGF.

“I am writing on behalf of over 1 million pensioners in Nigeria who are members of our union.

We consider it necessary to direct our complaint to the office of the SGF because it is the office charged with the responsibility of compiling the list of the delegates to the National Conference.

“It is on this note that we wish to draw your attention to the Federal Government’s announcement in the media on the release of the list of delegates to the National Conference, which indicated that retired civil servants were given six slots to the National Conference.

“As the only union registered and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for Nigerian civil pensioners/retirees, it was expected that our union, rather than the association of the retired Federal Permanent Secretaries should nominate delegates to the conference. But to our greatest dismay, we discovered that the union was sidelined.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has written to President Jonathan to protest the exclusion of Ogoni from the national conference.

MOSOP, through its President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, in the letter to the President accused the Federal Government of marginalising Ogoni people.

It reiterated that the national conference was set up to address lingering imbalances, injustice and instability occasioned by marginalisation and violation of people’s rights, among other issues.

The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people said: “We have reviewed the published list of delegates (to the national conference) and are shocked that while some ethnic groups in the country are represented by over 40 delegates in some instances, others have no representation whatsoever.

“For us (Ogoni) specifically, in spite of the huge sacrifices we have made in our pioneering struggle for justice in the Niger Delta and democracy in the country as a whole, we are appalled that even out of the list of 15 delegates from the Southsouth, while some ethnic groups in the zone were represented by upwards of five delegates, not even one of our people was considered for inclusion.

“We had thought that the Federal Government’s nominations would help address cases of such obvious omissions, but surprisingly, we found that it suffered the same fate.

“Given the internationally-acknowledged contributions and huge sacrifices of the Ogoni people, under the leadership of MOSOP, to the struggle for democracy, justice, human rights, including indigenous people’s and minority rights, environmental justice and true federalism, we see the exclusion of Ogoni people as another major step in the continuing government policy to malign and oppress the Ogoni people and diminish their huge contributions to nation building.

“This our protest is predicated on our firm belief that any dialogue process to address the injustice of marginalisation cannot succeed, if erected on the shallow foundation of exclusion and that the best way of perpetrating injustice is to exclude those most afflicted by it from discussions aimed at addressing it.

“Our people and others like us have been the barometer by which injustice in Nigeria has over the years been measured and that explains why we have been in the forefront with others to advocate national discourse to address the national question. Our exclusion not only sends a dangerous, even if inadvertent message, but asks important questions about the credibility of the process.”

It declared that Ogoni people and other indigenous/minority communities would not consider themselves bound by whatever decisions that would be reached at the national conference, should the organisation’s protest not be considered.

The Volunteers for Protection of Itsekiri Rights accused Jonathan of “rigging” the list of delegates to achieve a predetermined agenda in favour of his Ijaw kinsmen.

VPIR, in a statement by Robinson Ariyo, Leleji Augustine and Okpeyeghan Toju, National Coordinator, Secretary and Public Relations Officer, said the exclusion of the Itsekiri ethnic group from the original list of delegates was suspicious.

It also faulted the explanation of “anomaly” proffered by the state government for the exclusion of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Itsekiri delegate, saying, “We suggest that it is because in this instance, the selection criteria for the delegates were rigged from inception to favour one ethnic group above every other ethnic group in Nigeria.”

It said the assertion was buttressed by The Presidency’s presentation of an delegate in each of the categories, stressing that other ethnic groups must also vet the list properly to ensure that the agenda of a group is not imposed on Nigerians.

“With the conspiracy to exclude the Itsekiris from participating in this conference and the fact that over 20 delegates of Ijaw ethnic extraction are on board, Nigerians need to revisit the set of criteria finally chosen by the Presidency to make this possible,” the statement added.

The Itsekiri group said the hoopla generated by the exclusion of their kinsmen and other ethnic groups from the list of delegates justified initial calls that selection of delegates be done along the lines of ethnic nationalities as suggested by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze.

They claimed that the decision not to make selection on ethnic line was to “guarantee that Ijaw have the well over 20 slots which they now have. While the Itsekiris have none, Isokos and Urhobos have only about three jointly.

“Now that the Presidency has gone ahead to execute its strategy of lopsided representation of delegates to suit the President’s ethnic group, we call on all other ethnic groups in Nigeria to peruse the list of delegates against the alleged criteria and determine how much each has been cheated in this scheme before we proceed any further with the conference.

Secretary of the Coalition of the Northeast Civil Societies, Alhaji Baba Shehu told reporters in Damaturu yesterday that the conference is a jamboree of fraudulent and selfish government agents without the full representation of the people at the local level.

Alhaji Shehu noted that 25 CSOs in the region met and nominated four delegates but the list was thrown into the dust bin by the Federal Government.

“We the Civil Society Organisations in the Northeast receive the news of the delegates of the CSOs in our region with a rude shock.

“The list as released by the Federal Government is completely strange from the criteria and procedure of selection of the delegates as earlier directed.

“Apart from our complete ignorance of the names of delegates on the list, we are also noticed that the region has been short-changed by two delegates. Instead of the four names that we forwarded after our meeting on the 12/02/2014, none of the names came out only for us to see just two strange names on the list.

“We make bold to say that the Northeast more than any other region in this country at the moment needs a more true representation at this conference to discussion its problems. It is rather unfortunate that some people would sit in Abuja and make a decision on such a sensitive matter of this nature.”

Olanipekun said no constitution disallows President Jonathan from organising a National Conference, noting that “sovereignty resides in and with the people.”

The former chair of the University of Ibadan Governing council explained that the NBA had long been in the struggle for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) since the 1980s under the leadership of Chief Alao Aka-Bashorun.

“Whether it is National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, Nigerians must start from somewhere. We have to cross-fertilise ideas on how best to run the country, whether the Presidential system should continue or not. We have to go there and listen to discussion”.

He said: “Are we saying the maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians presently in some parts of the country should not be discussed? Are we saying these human lives have no meaning to us?, he queried”.

“It is the conference that would determine the type of constitution and system of government that would be operated in Nigeria. It is the conference that will give us a groundrum and not to advise Mr President”, Olanipekun said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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Nigeria National Conference: It Is Time To Forge Ahead – By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje.


By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje

Since the announcement of the proposed convocation of a national conference by President Jonathan Ebele Good luck there has been mixed bag of reactions and expectations in the minds of Nigeria from all divides. Nonetheless, the conference should be seen as a strategic move to a robust people – driven democracy parley. Additionally, it should be noted that national conferences all over the world are broadly inclusive forums for the renegotiation of contentious state-people relationships and Nigeria should not be an exception in its quest to discuss its future based on its political antecedents particularly on the account of the reality that confront it as a nation today.

National conference are generally peaceful and in my view, is intended to launch national reconciliation and rebirth efforts or processes that will help to stimulate the intense political activism for a nation in search a true federal state devoid frustration and suspicion from all groups and interest.

Indeed participants at National Conferences or dialogue usually claim sweeping sovereign powers to rewrite constitutions and election laws in order to promote political pluralism and guarantee better protection of human rights and political freedoms. Although, national conferences in Nigeria in the past might have seemed frenzied or unending, but as an ordinary Nigerians, we should take advantage of this initiative as rare opportunities for us to re – define our own rules of political engagement and to take full ownership of our political futures.

This article looks at some of the fundamental issues that the national conference should discuss amongst others, governments should move away from the extremely centralized and expensive presidential and gubernatorial systems inherited from the 1979 Nigeria Constitution to more balanced semi-presidential or semi-parliamentary systems that should institutionalize the position of prime minister and provide for the holder of that office to be backed by a legislative majority. This proposed arrangement should also include any opposition parties, civil society, market women and community associations to be elected on yearly basis.  In addition, this will close the existing gaps between the democratic aspirations of Nigerian citizens and the maneuvers by incumbent political leaders to preserve their stay in power.

Nigeria’s political experience over the last five decades or so has been characterised by lack of genuine democratization. Genuine democratization in my view should entail a deliberate broadening of the political space, an expansion of opportunities for political participation and mobilization, and the establishment of credible processes and institutions that allow for the change or renewal of political leadership through people driven elections from communities’ representatives on part- time basis. This would also allow citizens to enjoy greater rights and freedoms. Furthermore, Nigeria’s constitution should be a direct result of the government deliberately pursuing a policy of ethnic or regional democracy. Ethnicity has always serves as the foundation for Nigeria’s political parties since independence.

In addition to the national government, there should be regional states whose borders trace ethnic lines for national development aspiration purposes.
Admittedly, over the last twenty years or so, myriad nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have played a vital role in promoting political participation and good governance in Nigeria particularly at the grass root levels. National associations or associations for human rights, associations of retired jurists, and politically activist bar associations, with independent journalists and other civil society groups would act as crucial watchdogs within the new structures to safeguard rights and freedoms and to foster further democratization and development. Increasingly, civil society and community associations should become an accurate barometer for the people and political leaders.

Community organizations should find the space to conduct advocacy activities for their respective communities, develop better channels of communication with the executive and legislative branches of government at the local, state and national, and provide input into the governance process based on the community development aspirations and needs.

The judiciary to very large extent has played a unique role as an independent arbiter for political issues in Nigeria. The Supreme Court in particular tended to hold final jurisdiction over administrative, criminal, constitutional, civil, and commercial matters. However there is need to create constitutional and peoples courts to handle litigation pertaining to the constitutionality of laws or acts of government. The proposed courts should assume jurisdiction over election-related disputes and the conditions of eligibility for public office. The eligibility criteria to public office should be at the centre of the debate in the conference.

Elected officials, party leaders, and, in many cases, ordinary citizens of voting age also may petition constitutional courts. Allowing citizens access to institutions that can pass judgment on the executive branch acts or omissions is likely to curb flagrant abuses of state resources and power. The conference should also introduce another important level of oversight regarding budget and expenditure and state – community relations mechanism to enhance accountability and community development.

Advocacy for a constitutional provision and requirement calling for 85 percent of its members to be elected by their peers and associations throughout the country and by extension, at the end of the dialogue, should be made  as constitutional mandate for representation in parliament from local, state  then to the national levels of governance.

Furthermore, the  electoral systems should moved away from closed party and Godfather structure to other forms of proportional representation or to multi-member constituencies, elected representatives must live and resides with the people they wish to represent, so that they can more responsive and accountable to their constituent needs and should push for loosened relationships to party hierarchies and supremacy. These developments in my view would empower communities to quarterly legislative parley and meetings to initiate hearings, legislative inquiries, budget debates, and motions to censure governmental policies and inactions that would not be beneficial to the people or constituents. Communities – legislative and budget debates will help to tone down executive branch bills and the reckless spending by governments and its agencies.

Also, the recalcitrant and bogus bureaucracies must also be renegotiated to favour ordinary citizens. The civil service remains in my opinion, conservative and heavily indebted to the patronage and rent – seeking system that encourages profligacy and contract through over invoicing. This is especially evident in the jurisdictional conflicts that have emerged between agencies and ministries, and in the reluctance of presidential and gubernatorial appointees and auxiliaries, such as governors and their cronies to respect the rule of law and due process in the management of the people resources.  The challenge lies in the national conference persuading the bureaucratic elites to embrace people’s aspirations and to tie their performance with community driven projects.

Finally, it is instructive to note that Ethiopia in 1991 conducted a national conference and came out with far reaching a peoples constitution in 1994 with a clause that creates a two-tiered federal structure, which, at least in principle, emphasized ethnic groups’ rights and the right to self-determination which are necessary ingredient for a stable democracy and on the other hand, Nigeria should not also be in a hurry forget the case of  the former Yugoslavia in Europe with similar historical trajectories like us disintegrated in  1992 – 1999 respectively.

Therefore, the national conference should facilitate a deep-rooted and inclusive democracy where all minorities are protected. Irrespective of the outcome, a referendum that would provide for a thriving and inclusive local democracy is necessary to secure the interests of all local peoples and not only the political elites and representatives of the people at the discourse.

Orovwuje, Founder, Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, Lagos

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

 

We’ll not support autonomy for ethnic nationalities at confab — ACF.


The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has said that the North would not  support autonomy for ethnic nationalities during the proposed National  Conference in the country.

ACF, however, expressed support for devolution of power from the centre  to the states in such a way that ”the centre is strong enough to keep  the country one, but, not too strong as to push the country towards a  unitary system.”

The National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani made this known in a statement in Kaduna, yesterday.
Sani was reacting to reports that the Yoruba would push for ”ethnic autonomy” during the conference.

The statement read: ”We have read the reports that the Yoruba will push  for some form of ethnic autonomy during the coming National Conference  that is reminiscent of con-federal arrangement.
“As we have repeatedly made clear, ACF did not canvass for the Conference.

”This is because of the forum’s belief that the problems of Nigeria lie  on the collapse of national ideals, fall in moral values, collapse in  social contract and fall in sense of what is right and what is wrong.
There is no problem in the structure of the country in the constitution  and in the form of government or in the type in ethnic nationalism that  promotes cleavages of the country.

”But since some sections of the country believe that coming together in  the conference is capable of furthering the cause of a united Nigeria  when issues of national importance or  real issues of real concern to  Nigerians are discussed; we have said, so be it.

”Surely, if such issues are raised in the conference, delegates from the  North will not lack what to say. It must be noted that there is no  system of true federalism that is accepted universally. And that is why  no two federal systems are clones of each other.

”This is because, a federal system has a lot to do with the  circumstances of its emergence. For examples, the 13 American Colonies  came together to form USA while in Nigeria, the national government  formed the federating units.

Source: Radio Biafra.

The National Conference; Opportunity Or Distraction? A Program Of Action By Jaye Gaskia.


By Jaye Gaskia

Since I wrote the piece of the National Conference and the January Uprising, and particularly since the press briefing of which I was a key part announcing the intention for a robust engagement with the National Conference process while welcoming it as an opportunity, a lot of views have been expressed both for and against the National Conference, and any form of engagement with it as a process.

While I do not intend to enter into any direct debate with any one single critic and or critique of engagement in this piece, I however intend to provide some more clarity on my position, and on the positioning of others with whom we made the declaration of engagement.

So I will here engage with the general trend of the body of critique, not with individual critics! The first issue for me is that of whether this particular National Conference process is a distraction or is an opportunity as some of believe and assert. This is the primary issue for me, because it goes to the heart of the debate. It is a strategic issue at least for those who wish to engage in a frank but also genuine debate, and not for those who think they have particular axes to grind with particular individuals.

The first thing to state very clearly is that it is both a distraction as well as an opportunity. How is this so? For the presidency for instance, it is an attempt to distract popular attention from a failing and failed presidency, as well as from the problems and rapidly declining fortunes of the once very dominant ruling party. But it also represents an opportunity to reclaim some popular support and good will, by seeming acceding to the long standing demands of the popular movements.

For ordinary Nigerians, the ordinary citizens, and their organisations, who since the January Uprising of 2012 have achieved an altered balance of class forces, not yet completely in their favour, but so much so that it can at least no longer be business as usual for some time to come; the National Conference becomes a distraction if we stand aloof from it, and allow that space to be occupied and dominated exclusively by the representatives of the factitious light fingered ruling class, whether they go by the appellation of ‘ConservaThieves’ or ‘ProgressThieves’.

It becomes an opportunity however if these organised popular forces intrude on this space, seize it, and impose their demands and their aspirations on the National Conference as a process.

Furthermore, let there be no doubt about it; the National Conference is not a gift from a benevolent ruling class or presidency, neither was it willingly given; it is a concession wrested from the hands of a ruling class that is now witnessing an internal crisis of existential proportions, a ruling class whose antagonistic competitive drive towards treasury looting and primitive accumulation of wealth is now precipitating an implosion.

And because this concession was wrested out on the eve of a general election is actually much more an indication of the weakness of the ruling class, than of its strength. It is a measure of its internal crisis.

The treasury looting ruling class is in the throes of self immolation, a crisis that is shifting the balance of power within the ruling class, while also generally temporarily accelerating the general weakness of the class rule.

It is because of all of these reasons and factors that the National Conference represents an opportunity, rather than a distraction.

Now let us also very quickly take on the issue of a Sovereign National Conference; or the Sovereignty of this particular National Conference. It is important to state clearly that this is not a sovereign national conference, which is what we have always demanded for. Nevertheless, we have always been very clear too that no regime that is still in power convenes a Conference or assembly whose authority is going to be sovereign, and which therefore constitutes a new centre of power, and alternative power to the regime. We have always insisted that a Sovereign National Conference can only be convened by a victorious uprising, and it is in this sense that we have always insisted that the demand for a Sovereign National Conference is an insurrectionary demand, a legitimate demand, which can only be actualised by mass movement which is at the head of an uprising that is poised to take power.

Nevertheless, let us also take a quick look at history, the history of national and or similar conferences. Every National Conference that has eventually declared itself sovereign were called by weakening and weakened regimes, who were making concessions to the mass movement. And as the crisis in society, within, and between the main classes deepened in the course of the conference deliberations, the balance of power between the social forces became altered enough for the conference to declare its sovereignty, and go ahead to assert its autonomy from the government of the day.

This was the case with the National Conferences in Benin Republic, as well as in DRC, formerly  Zaire – which by the way had to be dispersed by the force of arms.

Our contention is that the balance of power between contending social forces was significantly altered by the January Uprising; and that is why we have witnessed heightened levels of popular awareness and increased popular consciousness, and spikes in acts of protests and successful workers’ strikes since then.

This altered balance of power within and between contending social forces manifests in a weakened presidency and declining ruling party, the rise of an opposition that is still weak with respect to its internal structures and cohesion; the rise in confidence levels of ordinary citizens and workers in challenging the excesses of the system; and the general atmosphere of popular disaffection and dissent.

It is this altered balance of power that renders this National Conference an opportunity for a Robust, Sceptical, and Critical engagement with the process in order to influence its outcome while also ensuring that we build a mass movement that is sufficiently strong enough to run with the popular issues that will be raised at the conference, and that will be strong enough to dictate the agenda for the 2015 General Election.

So what is our program of action to engage with the National Conference: Raise the banner of all our historic popular demands on the floor of the conference; contest every anti-people issue with the ruling class; insist on a Social Charter that will be based on a comprehensive listing of the entire body of Human Rights; civil, political, economic, and socio-cultural, in the same chapter of the constitution; enforceability of every human right.

This is our minimum transitional demand to the conference; in addition to which we add the nonnegotiable requirement that the outcome of the conference can be validated only through a general referendum of eligible Nigerian citizens, who are registered to vote in any normal general election.

The fact that the regime has left the decision on how to deal with the outcome of conference to  the conference itself, is also a clear indication of the relative weakness of the regime, and a clear indication of the level of concessions that are being, and that can be, wrested from this regime and the ruling class.

Let there be no doubts about it, all fractions of the ruling class, including the APC will eventually take part in this National Conference, because they understand that no political space can be left uncontested. Part of our goal is to ensure that this time around when Nigeria is being discussed, unlike at all the previous times since the 1914 amalgamation, ordinary Nigerians will be part of these discussions, not just merely the objects of the discussions.

This is our program of action. We challenge those critical of our engagement to present their own alternative program of action.

Finally it is preposterous and indeed smirks of insincerity to promote and actively engage with the APC, the current Labour Party or APGA who are mere appendages of the presidency and the rump PDP; while insisting that a robust, critical, and skeptical engagement with the National Conference amounts to some sort of betrayal. The National Conference is a contested space, one that will be contested not just by political parties and politicians, but also by citizens’ organisations and their activist leaderships.

Follow me on Twitter: @jayegaskia & [DPSR]protesttopower; Interact with me on FaceBook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

Sunday Musings: And What Shall We Discuss At The National Conference, Where, And For How Long? By Mobolaji E. Aluko.


By Mobolaji E. Aluko
My People: When the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue (PACND) submitted its report to President Goodluck Jonathan in December 2013, in addition to suggesting modalities for the National Conference itself, it recommended thirty-eight main topics (sub-divided into seventy-eight sub-topics).Now in accepting (in January 2014) and then beginning to act upon the PACND’s report, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) specifically “accepted” only one non-topic – indivisibility of Nigeria – which “No-Go Area”  (in Nigerian parlance) I have now taken the liberty of actually making the thirty-ninth topic (See Table 2 below).

One presumes that the NC will discuss all the topics – and possibly more that are thrown up during the discussions.  However, the burning questions to me at this time when I read all of the suggested topics are:

(1) is the NC going to be a mere talk-shop – an EVENT in a hotel in Abuja  – to end in a report that might or might not see the light of day? or

(2) a serious PROCESS across the nation, at various venues,  sometimes week-days, sometimes week-ends, that will eventually end up in a Popular Constitution approved by a Referendum; and

(3) will three months (the recommended length of time for the NC), six months (my recommended period) or even twelve months be enough to discuss all-and-sundry topics?

Finally:

(4)  if it is an Abuja hotel event, which employed persons (self- or otherwise employed) will be able to devote three months of his or her time to this event – or is this an event planned for the IDLE RICH, and/or the un-employed, and/or the un-employable?

These questions are rhetorical.  Assuming therefore that the National Conference being proposed is a SERIOUS EVENT that will lead to a Popular Constitution within a period of time that serious-minded (and otherwise busy) persons can participate in within a reasonable period of time – and episodically go off to engage their constituencies as well as their primary jobs – I have outlined in Table 1, an 18-block, 38-topic list of suggested discussion topics culled from PACND’s list.  It is not that the other topics that I have cut out are not important, but they can be considered AOB – Any Other Business – and can be discussed TIME- PERMITTING.

Let the National Conference begin….after the delegates are chosen somehow, which is a separate challenge.

And there you have it.   Your thoughts are welcome.

Bolaji Aluko

 

 

————— TABLE 1:  Suggested Priority Topics to be Discussed (in order of importance) – Aluko suggestions

 

Block Priority Topic for Discussion
1 1 (No)Go Area: (in)Divisibility/Dissolution/Disunity of Nigeria
  2 Definition of Federating Units: States or Geo-Political Zones
2 3 Political Federalism
  4 Fiscal Federalism
3 5 Presidential system
  6 Parliamentary system
4 7 Choice between Uni-cameral or Bi-cameral legislature
  8 Choice between full-time or part-time legislature.
5 9 Fundamental human rights
  10 Justiciability of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy
6 11 Diversification of the economy
  12 Oil and other Mineral Resources Management  (Resource Control)
  13 Poverty and wealth creation
7 14 Tenure of Public officials: President, Governors, etc
  15 Immunity of political office holders
8 16 Local (State) Policing
  17 Security Agencies: Review and re-design of national security apparatus
9 18 Fighting corruption and anti-corruption agencies — ICPC, EFCC
10 19 National Census Policy
  20 National Electoral System (INEC, SIEC, etc.)
  21 Federal Character
11 22 Review of judicial institutions
  23 Religion, Secularism and the Secularity of the Nigerian State
  24 Sharia and Customary legal system
12 25 Land use Act
  26 Citizenship/indigenes — Settlers dichotomy
  27 Boundary adjustment
  28 State Creation and Merger of States
13 29 National Education Policy
  30 National Science and Technology Education Policy
  31 National Research and Development Policy
  32 National Health Policy
14 33 National Defence Policy
15 34 Gender,  Youth and Vulnerable  Citizens issues
  35 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
16 36 Role of Traditional Rulers and Institution in governance
17 37 Administrative/Legislative Structures for FCT, Abuja (and Lagos? Calabar?)
18 38 Languages and Language Policy

 

 

 

Table 2: Committee-recommended Specified Items For Inclusion on the Agenda of the National Conference

 

Main Section Sub-

Section

Topic for Discussion
1   Political Restructuring of the country:
  1 a. Political Federalism
  2 b. Fiscal Federalism,
  3 c. Definition of Federating Units: States or Geo-Political Zones
2   Forms of Democratic Governance:
  4 a. Presidential system.               
  5 b. Parliamentary system;
  6 c. Choice between Uni-cameral or Bi-cameral legislature;
  7 d. Choice between full-time or part-time legislature.
3   Good Governance;
  8 a. Cost of governance;
  9 b. Corruption and National Development;
  10 c. Fighting corruption and anti-corruption agencies — ICPC, EFCC;
  11 d. Immunity of political office holders;
  12 e. Citizenship/indigenes — Settlers dichotomy;
  13 f. Justiciability of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy;
4   Judicature:
  14 a. Fundamental human rights;
  15 b. Impunity of judicial officers;
  16 c. Review of judicial institutions;
  17 d. Sharia and Customary legal system;
  18 d. Delays in the administration of justice.
5   Democratization
  19 a. Deepening democracy;
  20 b. De-militarization of national psyche,
  21 c. Democratic culture and orientation;
  22 d. Mechanisms for a more inclusive participatory democracy.
6 23 Political parties, God-fatherism and the challenges of internal Democracy:
7   National Security and Security Challenges:
  24 a Security Agencies: Review and re-design of national security apparatus,
  25 b Local Policing,
  26 c Other security agencies.
8 27 State Creation and Merger of States
9   Education:
  28 a. Investment in education;
  29 b. Decentralisation and National Education policy;
  30 c. Return of Missionary and Private schools to original owners;
  31 d. Institutionalizing Tsangaya/Almajiri education system
  32 e. Nomadic Education.
10   Health
  33 a. Health Policy
  34 b. Investment in Health
  35 c. Healthcare Delivery
11   Science, Technology and Development:
  36 a. Science and Technology Education;
  37 b. Technological Adaptations and the National Economy;
  38 c .Research and Development;
  39 d. Promotion and Improvement of indigenous Technological innovations;
12 40 Restoring the National Ethics, Morals and Core Values
13 41 Religion, Secularism and the Secularity of the Nigerian State
14   Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development
  42 a. Decentralisation of National Agricultural Policy;
  43 b. Grazing Reserves and Cattle Routes Demarcation
15   The Environment
  44 a. Environmental Degradation – flooding, soil erosion, oil spillage and desertification;
  45 b. Climate change.
16   Defence
  46 a. Nigeria’s defence policy and posture at home and abroad;
  47 b.The Nigerian Armed forces and multi-lingual challenges;
  48 c. Nigeria and International peace-keeping operations.
17 49 Tenure of Public officials: President, Governors, etc
18 50 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the challenges of conducting free and fair elections.
19 51 Population and Credible National Census;
20 52 Land use Act;
21 53 Role of Traditional Rulers and Institution in governance at national and local levels;
22   The Economy:
  54 a. Poverty and wealth creation;
  55 b. Productivity;
  56 c. Diversification of the economy;
  57 d. Industries and Industrialisation
23 58 Oil and other Mineral Resources Management, Exploration and Sharing mechanism;
24 59 Revenue Generation and Mobilization
25 60 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC);
26 61 Gender issues;
27 62 Youth Unemployment and Development issue;
28 63 Physically Challenged Persons and National Development;
29 64 Investment in Sports
30 65 Boundary adjustment;
31 66 National inland waterways issues;
32 67 Elective Mayorality Administrative/Legislative Structures for FCT, Abuja
33 68 Special status for Lagos;
34 69 Unsettled issues of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970);
35 70 Revising Bakassi;
36 71 Languages and Language Policy;
37 72 Pension Matters and Rights of Senior Citizens;
38 73 Federal Character
39 74 (No)Go Area: (in)Divisibility/Dissolution/Disunity of Nigeria

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

South East civil society delegates emerge for National Conference.


 

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Civil society organisations in Nigeria’s South East have emerged among the first to select delegates

for the forthcoming National Conference.

The delegates, who were selected during a meeting of the groups held Friday in Enugu, the political capital of Igboland, are as follows:

1. Comrade Zulu Ofoelue – General Secretary, United Action for Democracy (UAD) & Chairman, Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Enugu State. [B. Sc Economics, M. Phil (Edu). (From Abia State).

2. Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi – Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law; B.Sc., Criminology and Security Studies; An alumnus of the International Leadership Program of the United States Dept., Class of June 2013; Chairman, CLO Anambra State 2001 to 2007, Vice Chair CLO Southeast Zone and Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law since 2008. (From Anambra State).

3. Dr. Jerry Chukwuokolo – Secretary South East Zone, Campaign for Democracy. BA (Hon) MA, PhD (UNN). Formerly Chairman, Campaign for Democracy, Enugu State. (From Enugu State).

4. Eze Eluchie, Esq. President, PADDI Foudnation; LLB, Nigeria; Cert. (Health & Human Rights), Harvard. (From Imo State).

The groups said in a letter to Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, dated February 7, 2014 that they nominated the four delegates “given that 24 slots were allotted to Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, implying 4 delegates for each geo-political zone.”

However, in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the groups “observed the following and called on the Federal Government to act upon them:

“1. That the number of nominees allotted to the Federal and State governments were too high just as the space for delegate nomination to Civil Society Groups was too few. We therefore demand for a suitable adjustment of both.

“2. We insist that Civil Society nominees to the conference who are to represent the South East Zone of Nigeria must be activists resident in and carrying out their activities within the geographical location of South East Nigeria. Any nomination of South East indigenes operating outside the zone would be faulty since such persons mostly lack knowledge of social-development issues in the zone. We therefore believe that only delegates domiciled in the zone are fully conversant with the day-to-day situation of the South East and are therefore most qualified to represent it.

“3. We call on all Nigerians to begin to organize pre-conference deliberations at national, ethnic, state, local and organizational levels in order to articulate an agreed position of the Nigerian people.”
Source News Express

Source: Radio Biafra.

Cheap Political Popularity via dividing Biafraland, Imo will hold own confab first, says Okorocha.


 

Gov Rochas Okorocha

Gov.  Rochas Okorocha of Imo has said that the state would hold a mini  conference before the National Conference, planned by the Federal  Government.
Okorocha made the announcement in a statement by his Senior Special  Adviser on Media, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, and made available to newsmen in  Owerri on Thursday.
He said that the mini-confab would enable the state to articulate its  position and speak with one voice during the national conference.
The governor, however, did not state the date for the event.
He said that the proposed national conference would give Nigerians  opportunity to discuss issues bothering on national unity, adding that  it was important that Nigeria remained an indivisible entity.
“Nigeria must remain an indivisible entity as the Igbos have paid so  much for the unity of the country and this is not negotiable,” he said.
The governor noted that there was nothing wrong with the entity  called Nigeria but that the problem was in the management of the  country.
Okorocha called on Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the confab  to renew friendship across the divide as the conference would be a  worthwhile event.
He said the state was ready to participate in the centenary  celebration of Nigeria, noting that Nigeria’s 100 years of existence was  worth celebrating.
by nan

Source: Radio Biafra.

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