Onaiyekan, Jega, and Others Say, Nigeria’s Political System Needs to be Restructured
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Prof. Attahiru Jega, the immediate past chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and other civil rights actors have summoned the gathering of a National People’s Conference to address Nigeria’s political structure.
The alliance under the frame of the Nigeria Working Group on ‘Peace building and Governance’ made the call in a report, following the meeting of civil society actors on Friday in Abuja.
It was made known that the group, presented key observations and recommendations as to how citizens could collectively form an alliance in seeking pathways to the rebuilding of the country.
The group which also has members like, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, General Martin Luther Agwai, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr Nguyan Shaku Feese, Dr Usman Bugaje, Adagbo Onoja and Amb. Fatima Balla unveiled that, in the absence of a binding narrative, various conspiracy theories had surfaced with great capacity to bring the country under division, along the sharp lines of both ethnicity and religion.
Other members of the group include Amb. Zango Abdu, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Dr Chris Kwaja, Dr Hussaini Abdu, Kemi Okenyodo, Mr Jim Gala, Mrs Aisha Muhammed Oyebode, and Tsema Yvonne.
The group, however, recommended that aside from People-Centred Dialogue Process, Nigerians in their communities, associations, civil society groupings, women’s groups, and youth groups should set in motion, continuous discussions to intensify the emerging consensus.
They also emphasized the prosecution of criminality and violent collision between farming and herding communities which had claimed thousands of lives and heightened ethnic, religious, and regional divergence.
The group proceeded by saying that, civil society, the media, professional associations, socio-cultural groups, women, youth, students, and people that are physically impaired, should act collectively as key catalysts for civic action.
This was because civic action underlining key voices was required to be augmented in deploying citizens as a basis for driving governments at all levels to act in the general interest of the citizens.
It condemns the continuous absence of deliberate communication between the country and its citizens.
The group in its statement revealed that ‘This situation is further heightening the level of desperation among the citizens that are increasingly being detached from the everyday governance of the Nigerian state.’
The group reiterated that, the continuous increase in insecurity across the country was due to the lack of political will and the inability of the country’s security structure to manage the diverse challenges.
The level of criminality in rural areas has made the situation more complex by undermining food security as many farmers couldn’t go to their farms for months for fear of losing their lives.
Looking at the angle of corruption, which the group maintained was getting out of control they concluded that there was a joint effort to dissolve anti-corruption agencies and render them ineffective.
It said that, the confidence toward the Nigerian state was at the barest minimum, thereby increasing the divides in the country and creating widespread demands for discourse and consensus building on revamping.
It is said that the Nation needs to adopt a sense of urgency in the way it deals with rapidly amassed liabilities.
The group in its statement said, ‘We welcome the obvious improvements in elite consensus and inclusiveness in dealing with legitimate demands to restructure the nation.’
‘We urge every well-meaning Nigerians to contribute to the discussions, debates and the search for real and constructive solutions to limitations in the operations of our constitution and the structures that give meaning to our citizenship.’
Photo Credit: Ripples