The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has commended President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to set up a committee on how to organise a national dialogue.
The Presidency, through a statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim named Prof Ben Nwabueze, as one of the 13 members of the committee headed by Senator Femi Okurounmu.
Reacting to the news on behalf of the Coalition, its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran commended President Jonathan for providing the opportunity for Nigerians to come to a rountable.
He said, “It is a welcome development. At least he has opened a window of opportunity for us to start discussing ourselves as those that belong to the geographical expression called Nigeria. Because Nigeria is not yet what you can call even a country because the people that found themselves in that geographical expression have not agreed that they want to bear that name Nigeria until everybody shows adequate confidence in that name.”
Speaking further, Adeniran noted that the conference should not just be a dialogue as the President called it, but a sovereign conference where the opinion of every Nigerian would count.
“It should not just be a dialogue as the President called it, because the dialogue that he said, sounds escapist. What Nigerians want is Sovereign National Conference. Other regimes had tried their hands on a conference. Nigerians are tired of having just a conference. Since the days of the Colonial Masters, we have had the Berlin Conference, we also had the Constituency Assembly in the days of Shagari, we had General Debate about the Economy under Babangida; we had the Constitutional Conference under Abacha. We had another nebulous Conference under Obasanjo; now that Jonathan is talking about conference, it should not just be another Talkshop because all the former conferences have not given us what we wanted.
There should be opportunity for us to discuss the way we live together, including devolution of power, including indigeneship, including fiscal federalism, including resource control and allocation, including even military, including monopolies that FG enjoys like generation of power. There is no reason why every state or every component part of the union should not generate its own power. There is no reason why railway system should be exclusive to the central government. Nigerians want nothing less than a Sovereign National Conference,” Adeniran averred.
The human rights activist however called on well-meaning Nigerians to cooperate with committee to make its work successful.
“The convening up of a Sovereign National Conference is beyond Jonathan. That is why the people should work with the committee he set up. We don’t have any other means of doing it than for the existing government to do it; and if they are doing it the best way they know, it is for us to discover anything wrong with it, point it out and insist that the errors be corrected. Once those errors are corrected, we don’t have to bank on whether the proponents are initially sincere or not. It is Nigerian people that would make it work. Once we are ready to make it work, everything will fall in place,” Adeniran stated.
Media Officer, CACOL
03 October, 2013