Apex socio-cultural organizations; Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and Pan-Niger Delta Forum, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to give the country a ‘new people-oriented Constitution’ before the 2023 elections to avert Nigeria’s drift towards another civil war and forceful disintegration.
They stated this in a communique issued at the end of an inter-ethnic peace dialogue with the theme, ‘Restructuring and 2023 Power-Shift: Nigeria’s Make or Break Factor for Political Survival’, convened by Comrade Kennedy Iyere, and organized in Abuja by Youths Off The Street Initiative (YOTSI) and its Diaspora partners, in collaboration with ethnic nationalities and other NGOs.
Present at the meeting were former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani Kayode; former Speaker of House of Representatives and Chairman, National Consultative Front (NCF), Rt. Hon Ghali Na’aba; former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife; Prof Pat Utomi, and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa.
Others were former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih; ex-minister of Urban Housing and former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko; former Governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Chief Kofo Bucknor; former Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Dr S.D Gani; former Secretary General of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Engr Samuel Salifu; and President General of Mzough-U-Tiv and Chairman of Association of Benue Socio-Cultural Organizations (ABSCO), Chief Iorbee Ihagh
In the 10-point communique made available to journalists, the apex socio-cultural organisations stated that the country had fallen to its lowest ebb given the spate of ethnic, cultural, political, and religious agitations responsible for the nationwide security challenges.
They also questioned the sincerity of the government in addressing these challenges, stressing that effective political leadership was also urgently needed to arrest the ugly trend.
According to the communique, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), Prof George Obiozor (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Senator Emmanuel Essien Ibok (PANDEF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus (MBF), and Chief Chukwuemeke Ezeife, in their separate paper presentation on ‘Constitutional Restructuring’ and ‘2023 Presidential Transition’, noted the perceived lacunas in the 1999 Constitution and its inadequacy to solving critical issues as well as, the need for electoral reforms to ensure the sanctity of the ballots.
It reads in part, “The inter-ethnic peace dialogue is an effort to forestall the imminent drift towards another civil war and forceful disintegration of Nigeria.
“The meeting recognizes that a pre-condition for peace, justice, equity, fairness, and sustainable development is ‘quality political leadership’ especially, at the helm of affairs.
“Therefore, the dialogue adopted the following resolutions:
“Asserts that Nigeria needs a ‘New People-oriented Federal Constitution’ before the 2023 General Election given that the current 1999 Constitution does not represent the interests of the people.
“Insists that the new Constitution should provide for ‘True Federalism’ that heralds a restructured Nigeria.
“Calls on the Presidency to live up to its mandate of preserving the lives and properties of citizens by contending with the current insecurity.
“Demands the convocation of emergency ‘National Conference’ to take place in 2022 to fashion out a new federal constitution on the way forward for the federating regions.
“Agrees that the ‘2023 Presidency’ should be zoned to the South.
“Demands the amendment of the ‘Electoral Law’ to provide for electronic voting and real-time transmission of results before the 2023 general elections, to provide for transparency, accountability and to allow the ‘sanctity of the ballot box’ and to reduce voter apathy.”
The apex socio-cultural organisations also charged the Federal Government to urgently address the insecurity in the land as part of its efforts to avert a second civil war and keep the country united.
They also insisted that ‘Federal Character’ should be used in making federal appointments.
The meeting expressed the belief in a truly united Nigeria and rejected secession as a solution to present challenges, but insisted that the government should be seen to be performing acts that breed equality, peace and justice.
The statement further said that the unveiling ceremony of an ad-hoc committee, known as “United Nigeria Advocacy Committee (UNAC), was conducted by former Minister of Urban Housing and former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, to promote peace and sustain Nigeria’s unity, and to redress the prevailing injustice and general ills that have divided the country.
The various ethnic nationalities, in the communique, prayed for the implementation of their joint decisions as a catalyst for a better Nigeria and the common good of all citizens.
N1.8bn Discovery: Recall Buratai For Investigation, PDP Tasks Buhari
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) recently recovered N1.8billion worth of property owned by a military contractor in Abuja.
The opposition party, in a statement by its National Organising Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, yesterday, demanded the recall and investigation of Buratai.
PDP said its demand was predicated on the alleged missing $1billion meant to purchase arms to fight terrorism.
It added that corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC-led administration has led to the upsurge in unhindered terrorism attacks, mass killing of citizens, and loss of many of our gallant fighters.
The statement partly read, “It is therefore of serious interest to Nigerians when reports that the ICPC discovered the sum of N1.8billion in various currencies, expensive cars, and jewellery secreted in a property in Abuja allegedly linked to the former COAS broke out.
“There are already apprehensions that the discovered money is part of the security fund that was criminally diverted. This is especially against the backdrop of the frenzy and spirited efforts by certain quarters linked to the APC to suppress investigation and free flow of information, politicise the matter and sweep it under the carpet.
“Nigerians will recall that our Party has on several occasions alerted that the looting of our treasury is officially sanctioned and enabled by the APC administration with its refusal to prosecute those who were alleged and found to have been involved in massive corruption.
“It would also be recalled that the PDP drew attention to plans of the APC to create a slush fund account from monies fraudulently drawn from the national treasury to finance their plot to rig the 2023 general election.”
According to the PDP, the APC test runs their 2023 rigging plot in the Ekiti State governorship election with massive use of money to prosecute a vote-buying scheme.
The opposition party insisted that the reports of alleged massive looting under Buhari’s watch further confirm the APC administration as a haven for treasury looters.
“Moreover, the recently exposed looting of N80billion by the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, which investigation has now gone cold is suspected to have been engineered by the cabal at the very high level of the APC administration,” it added.
The PDP maintained that Buratai should return to the country and be made to face investigation.
According to the party, this is important because any allegation bordering on the looting of funds meant for the fight against terrorism is of grave national concern and consequence.
PDP requested that Buratai be thoroughly investigated and if found wanting must be made to face the full weight of the law.
King Jaja, Alapu-In-Council Receive Rivers PDP Guber Candidate In Opobo …Say Fubara’s Emergence Represents Riverine Communities’ Yearnings
While receiving the candidate, King Jaja said Fubara’s emergence represents the long yearnings of the riverine communities to produce the governor of the state since creation, and prayed that God perfects his victory at the elections.
The Amanyanabo noted that the kingdom would not take the opportunity of his emergence for granted as he expressed the undying gratitude of his kingdom to Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who supported the emergence of their son as the candidate of the ruling party.
He urged his people to leave no stone unturned in supporting Fubara to victory in 2023.
Speaking earlier, the PDP flag bearer, Sir Siminialayi Fubara,had told the Amanyanabo and the Council of Chiefs that his visit was to intimate them of his emergence as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the 2023 elections, and to seek their blessings as their son.
He said he considered it proper to do this before party campaigns commence, especially in seeking their prayers and blessings.
Fubara noted that his victory at the primary was not by his effort but grace of God at work, and enjoined the kingdom to join him in applauding Governor Nyesom Wike for supporting his emergence.
He further commended the governor for his developmental strides in Opobo and across the state.
The standard bearer visited the Amanyanabo and Alapu-In-Council along with party stalwarts and elders of Opobo/Nkoro extraction.
Insecurity: Northern Group Backs Matawalle On Self-Defence Order
This, the group, while rising from an emergency meeting held in Kaduna, yesterday, said was because the people of the North-West part of the country had suffered so much from banditry activities over the years.
They, therefore, noted that any lawful measure taken by the state to stop the rampaging terrorists that had consistently invaded the state, was in order.
Consequently, a statement released by the Executive Chairman of the group, Alhaji Zubairu Mustafa, also urged governors from the North-West to emulate the Zamfara State’s helmsman by issuing similar directives to their citizens.
The North-West comprises Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
The group also knocked the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, and other elites for hastily rebuking and condemning the governor’s order, adding that they were just being economical with the truth over the spate of insecurity in Zamfara State and other parts of the country.
According to them, the insecurity has festered across the country because there was no serious strategy in place by security agencies to end the challenge.
They added that with Matawalle’s order, the insecurity in his state would cease because if citizens were armed, bandits or terrorists or other criminal elements, would rethink before striking.
The statement read in part, “The Northern Elements Group, known as AREWA Development Forum for Peace and Justice, has risen from an urgent meeting of general concern in Kaduna with the resolution to support the idea of Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mohammed Mutawall, on giving permission to citizens to acquire and use weapons for protection against invading bandits in their communities.
“The group pleads with the state governors in the North-West region to set up machinery and measures for the Joint Task Force of able youths as community-based vigilante volunteers in order to complement the efforts of security operatives in the fight against criminal activities in the region like that of the Community Protection Guard (CPG) launched in Zamfara on Saturday.
“The group faulted negative reactions over the suggestion of Zamfara State Governor and bemoans at hurried comments of discouragement by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, and other elites who are economical with the truth of happening on the recent kidnapping, killings and attacks of the communities in North-West region and environs by suspected bandits.
“From Zurmi to Tsafe, from Bakura to Maru to Shinkafi, these bandits have continued with their deadly and dastardly attacks against innocent people because security agencies are overwhelmed with inadequate manpower, precision equipment and logistics facilities to nip the nefarious activities of these blood-thirsty terrorists, insurgents and bandits in the bud.
“In this case, Governor Matawalle is the man wearing the shoe and knows where it hurts, hence, our call on all meaning Nigerians to support his call on locals to legally acquire arms to protect and defend their communities against any form of criminal invasion.
“Therefore, we are supporting any leader that seems to have agreed and made a clear and acceptable decision within the ambit of law to bring lasting peace and security to the lives and properties of citizens.
“Nothing is more important than a leader in playing his role of saving lives and properties of his people than attending funerals or making a sympathy visit and lamentations after attacks.
“Proactive measures that include supporting military & Police operations, provision of logistics and giving communities’ rights of self-defence, are more important and best options for bringing a lasting and assured peace, cohesion and security to people in dire situations like now.”
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