How NCFront Plans New Mass Political Movement in Nigeria
OPEN MEMO: TO ALL NIGERIAN CITIZENS OF CONSCIENCE AND STAKEHOLDERS
As patriots and citizens of conscience, we, Stakeholders of the various Groups in the National Consultative Front, NCFront, are deeply disturbed by the disastrous failure of political leadership and unimaginable State collapse in Nigeria, as evident in the pervasive insurgencies, banditry, kidnapping, general insecurity as well as the dangerous slide of the Nigerian economy into depression, which has dimmed the hope of Nigerians at independence; rendering our most talented young people incapacitated, to seeking greener pastures in better managed foreign countries.
Given this worrisome situation of our dear country and the fear that things may get out of hand, if this situation is allowed to continue, a group of us, Citizens of Conscience and a Consortium of Organizations, from across the length and breadth of Nigeria have resolved to initiate and drive a national redemption movement to rescue and save Nigeria from an impending anarchy and to direct the country’s endowments towards erecting a truly prosperous and harmonious Nation that can deliver good governance and prosperity to her citizens, while also providing an exemplary leadership in Africa to take the black race out of her longstanding misery and poverty.
Nothing more directly raises the imperative for initiating our new Group, the National Consultative Front, NCFront to resetting Nigeria than the shameful mishandling of the recent peaceful protests of the #EndSars Movement of the Nigerian Youths against State brutality in the country as well as the helplessness and incapacitation currently being demonstrated by Governments and the Nigerian State over the crisis and tension foisted by clashes between farmers and herders in the country, thereby compelling private individuals to resort to self help. These among other indices of mis governance have exposed the deep seated trust deficit between those who govern the country and the governed and with such level of distrust, governing the country is clearly going to be suboptimal with serious effects on the legitimacy of the State to exercise authority over the people and this may shrink to the point that our social circumstances can degenerate (God forbid) to the level of Somalia or Liberia of two decades ago or to the extent of a disastrous economic decline, similar to the current situation of the oil-rich Venezuela, which is today in extreme distress.
As patriots, citizens of conscience, and people burdened by anger of the youth, hunger of the poor and the frustration of the well-off; including potential investors, who consider corruption and the bullying by incompetent and inept political leadership as high risk factors, the NCF is offering an alternative ideological platform for achieving the much desired new Nigeria that works for all similar to the feat attained in turning around the fortunes of countries like Singapore, South Korea, China, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, as Conveners and Promoters of the NCFront believe that with the right men and women at the helms of affairs of a new constitutional system, Nigeria will yet rise again.
The new Nigeria we seek to create will reject a style of politics that divide us as a people for the sinister purpose of capturing the state and using our common patrimony and public resources for self aggrandizement. Our dream is a stable, secured and prosperous Nigeria that works for all with due respect to fairness, equity , justice and dignity of the human life. This aspiration and more were addressed with candour on October 1, 2020, when the NCF hosted a national reconciliation and healing summit on the future of Nigeria, a national confab graced by the attendance of celebrated elders of the Country like Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Cardinal Onayekan, Obong Victor Attah, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the Widows of the Late Zik and Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Madam Uche Azikwe and Hajia Inna Maryam Ciroma, Hajia Najatu Mohammed among other eminent Nigerians including traditional rulers. Their bemoaning of the legitimacy of the extant order of the country reinforced the urgency of the need to save Nigeria with concrete collective action beyond words.
WHY WE ARE TROUBLED:
1. Those who are in positions of authority do not really appreciate what leadership means. Instead of self-sacrifice for the advancement of the common good, they are enmeshed in acute narcissism, extreme self-love that leaves little or no resources to cater for the welfare of the people.
2. Cost of governance and of winning elections and political power in Nigeria is outrageous and out of proportion with common sense. A comparison with prosperous countries reveals frightening relativities.
3. Weak Institutions: Public service institutions have become public disgrace in all ramifications . Nigerians go through daily pains to secure service from public institutions that have been set up to serve them. Again, when the boundaries of official conducts cannot be ascertained, people cannot anticipate the outcomes of transactions. That is the case of Nigeria right now. Whether it is the pensions of Retirees, Certificate of Occupancy and effectiveness of Land Registry in ensuring property rights, the report is negative and calls desperately for urgent sustainable change.
4. Corruption: Nothing is more troubling to us than the cancer of corruption which has imperiled progress in Nigeria. Ironically, the current government rode to power on the mantra of war against corruption, yet, a simple observation of the same government today will reveal that corruption is much worse under its watch.
5. Unemployment: The rate is alarmingly high and unacceptable . It creates the fertile ground for more criminality and insecurity as most Nigerians are already being subjected to. The government has shown little or no vision and creativity about job creation and the little effort to provide palliatives with government jobs and conditional cash transfers have been debased and squandered by nepotism and partisanship.
6. Monumental loss of faith in the State and trust in Government is a phenomenon which leads to failure to cooperate with policy ideas. This trust deficit has led to serious political sabotage and dysfunctional governance of the country breeding socio economic chaos and State collapse.
7. Marginalisation of many critical interest groups and Stakeholders, including the youth, women, rural people and ethnic nationality groups underscore the urgent imperative for justice, inclusion, equity, and fairness, such that the peoples of Nigeria can again own their country and feel patriotic.
8. Nigeria’s decline into a criminal enterprise, failed State and poverty capital of the world, as both the Brookings Institution, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation studies indicated, poses a great danger to the future of all Nigerians and the entire black race as manifest in the helplessness and incapacitation of the Nigerian State in the heightening tension and civil strife foisted by the violent clashes between herders and farmers, making Nigerians to resort self help.
NCFront ACTION PLAN:
In view of the foregoing, NCF is flagging off national working committees on select thematic challenges of the country with a view to generating outcomes as way forward for the country. The committees will have a working brief based on terms of reference from the NCF Steering Committee.
Constitution Drafting Committee:
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Fr. (Dr.) George Ehusani and Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed will co-chair a 60 member Constitution Drafting Committee from across the country and stakeholder’s groups to explore the provisions of the 1963 constitution, the 1979 Constitution, the 1989 constitution, the 1995 constitution, the reports and draft constitutions of the constitutional conferences under Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan as well as the proposed Peoples’ Constitution produced by PRONACO Peoples’ National Conference chaired by Chief Anthony Enahoro of blessed memory, among others in giving the Nigerian people a truly people’s draft constitution based on the principles of devolution of powers, political restructuring, and democratic ownership of government and the Nigerian State by the people.
Youth Development Committee:
This committee will have 60% of its membership under the age of 40. They will be expected to identify how to extract a demographic dividend from our youth bulge, and determine how to give the youth a voice in the affairs of the nation and ensure that this majority of our population does not have their human rights and property rights abused or appropriated by self serving public authorities. We, as a People’s Front, recognise and respect the diversity and differing circumstances of the different parts of our federation and the fact that while these differences make #EndSARS the issue in some parts, they make #End Banditry the issue in another part. However, it was crystal clear to us that all are united in pursuit of a better Nigeria that works for all.
Committee on the Economy:
The committee will use the ideas of Latent Comparative Advantage to identify endowments and resources in the six geopolitical zones and suggest a path to competitiveness on the value-chains of each of those endowments that can make each zone independently prosperous. It will construct linkages that will provide synergies for those sources of independent endowment value-chains that can make Nigeria a top ten player in the economic prosperity league of the world. Our idea is also to treat local governments as Economic Development Areas and increase their economy as against their political value, to the extent that education, primary healthcare, and production clusters can be synchronized and coordinated by highly experienced Councillors like retired top executives from enterprise, professionals and civil servants as well as academics and security agency top brass in their retirements.
Political Party Reform:
This committee shall undertake the tasks of reviewing the problems of internal party democracy as well as the purpose, ideology and modus vivendi for political parties in Nigeria, as these subjects are critical to the current stifling of the emergence of quality political leadership in the country. In this regard, the NCFront is committed to production-oriented and value driven form of government based on compassion for the socially disadvantaged but directing efforts towards equalization of opportunity and bringing the majority into a people’s capitalism of SME owners, as NCF has committed itself into forging a coalition between the rural farmers, NEPU-type of artisans, the administrative class, and the center-left intellectuals. We believe this is the coalition that will bring productivity, prosperity and social harmony to Nigeria. NCF therefore aspires to becoming a Movement of the Centre-left progressives with conservative values built around the dignity of the human person, liberty, human solidarity and the principle of subsidiarity. An ideology proceeding therefrom will shape our new movement manifesto and political culture in Nigeria going forward.
This is a committee to be charged with making policing local, with collaboration between traditional policing and community policing, but one in which human and property rights issues are escalated to states and federal levels.
A committee to ensure that Africa is the center-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy as expressed in support of ACFTA Agreement across borders and the respect for all Africans in which democracy is not abused by seat-tight leaders.
Health Care & Education:
This committee will interrogate constitutional appropriation or responsibility for healthcare and education, as we are more inclined to move both health care and Education to the concurrent list with Primary health care situated in local government, Secondary health care in the state and Tertiary care made concurrent for both state and federal governments. For the present worrisome state of Nigeria is largely the result of poor investment in the education and well being of the youth and in social infrastructure and the awful management of our Health and Education Sectors.
National Unity and Equity:
This a committee to dissect how we lost the ability to reflect on the delicate balancing of sensitivities and interests in a multiple nationality federation such as Nigeria. Even when in the first Republic, the politics of precarious balancing was attributed to the governmental policy of Former Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa. NCFront therefore remains committed to creating a new political class and leadership sensitive to this national balancing as well as the culture of ensuring equity and sensitivity to traditional interests, while building up unifying national ethos. For instance rather than recommend the controversial grazing reserves/RUGA for Herders across the country, government will do well by adopting and encouraging modern Ranches for cattle rearing in Nigeria to stop pervasive violent clashes between farmers and herders and also to be able to isolate criminal elements, who are though without cattles, operate under the guise of cattle pastoralism to take over Nigeria’s Forests and Bushes to inflict banditry harm and extortion on unsuspecting innocent citizens, a situation, which today has pushed our beloved country to the precipice of another civil war
Please note that as the committees mentioned above and others structures of the NCFront are being inaugurated, cells of the NCFront Mega Political Mass Movement nation wide shall be expected to start meeting on weekly basis to discuss and proffer solutions to crucial local and national issues germane to Nigeria’s constitutional redemption as inputs into the work of the national committees, whose full membership shall be announced soon.
NCFront TESTAMENT FOR THE NEW MEGA POLITICAL MOVEMENT TO RESCUE NIGERIA
Since its formation in July, 2020, the National Consultative Front, NCFront has come to terms with the fact that political power is crucial to the realization of its goals and objectives for a New prosperous Nigeria, so the Front will not hesitate to seek political power to lead and govern Nigeria as a credible alternative Peoples’ movement to the two dominant political parties and their cohorts in Nigeria, but not desperately or precipitately. To this extent, we wish to state that the NCFront will not be fixated on the power politics of 2023 but rather in first mobilising Nigerians for a brand new people’s Constitution that can enable Nigeria work for all and be rid off corruption and self aggrandizement in politics and in government.
The point being made here is that the ideological plan of action for our Mega Political mass Movement, now to be launched, following due consideration of the second wave of Covid 19 pandemic, by the end of March, 2021, is to, first and foremost, pursue Popular Democratic CONSTITUTIONAL REWORKING and REMAKING of NIGERIA to give the country a new constitutional template that will enable it embrace a new legitimate political structure and national legal framework that can essentially make politics less juicy, attractive and corruptive but service oriented and values driven for mass prosperity.
Therefore, the new Mass Political Movement shall be expected to immediately embark on a vigorous mobilisation for a new peoples constitution for Nigeria and it is after the struggle is won by the peoples of Nigeria that the movement in form of a credible alternative mega party to the APC and PDP, shall be expected to venture into the second phase of its agenda, which shall be to present and sponsor credible candidates for electoral power, as a mega movement party and mass ideological platform for pursuing the good governance and prosperity of Nigeria.
In other words, our emergent mass movement shall be expected to first mobilize Nigerians home and abroad for a New Nigeria through democratic constitutional restructuring of the country before venturing into electoral power politics and this shall be sequel to the sealing of a democratic merger and fusion of all the credible political parties and groups within the fold of the Front, (taking a cue from the advice of former INEC Chair, Prof Attahiru Jega during our national consultation on internal party democracy last year) as one indivisible formidable alternative political bloc, when the time comes. In essence, what we shall be launching is an alternative political class and credible political leadership that can step forward to lead the country any time, even in the event of any emergency.
Again, although the ultimate aim of the NCFront is to win power to lead Nigeria, however our various consultations and recent experiences have revealed also that without first replacing the existing warped corruptive military constitution of 1999, it may be fruitless and impolitic to engage in electoral contest with moneybags and State captors, who have already amassed ill gotten funds from governing the country, on the basis of money politics or highest bidder’s electoral merchandising but rather on ideology, principles, values and service to the Citizens and Electorate. So, we have resolved to mobilise Nigerians to first change the humongous and outrageous cost of contesting elections and winning electoral power in Nigeria through constitution reforms, which will also include electronic and diaspora voting, among others.
Therefore, in the light of the ravaging Covid 19 pandemic and after due consultations, the leadership of NCFront, has decided to shift the formal launch of the planned mega mass movement, earlier scheduled to hold at the end of January, 2021, now to 29th to 31st of March, 2021. This emergent movement of the people, as stated above, shall immediately after its inauguration, undertake two phases of interventions on its platform i.e to first agitate to get democratic constitution reform for the country and thereafter present credible candidates for the next elections in Nigeria. A two prong approach to rescuing and leading our beloved country, Nigeria into stability and prosperity.
Consequently, we shall immediately proceed to carefully work out a legal framework and procedure on how to strategically replace the self contradictory 1999 constitution with a new legitimate people’s constitution without having to create a constitutional lacuna or pitfall for the country. In this regard, we may have to collaborate with some Eminent Jurists and Statesmen/women, among others, who have already provided substantial answers to that national constitutional question in their works on how to legitimately and legally repeal and replace the 1999. However, the NCFront has also in the recent past canvased that the country can overcome possible constitutional quagmire in this regard by compelling the National Assembly, in their ongoing constitution review assignment, to amend sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 constitution; two sections, which presently take away sovereign powers over the Nigerian Constitution from the peoples and citizens of Nigeria and technically put it in the hands of their lawmakers rather than the Sovereign Peoples of Nigeria.
Our position, therefore, is that the National Assembly, in their ongoing constitution amendment process, should without fail, provide for a Referendum clause in the two sections of the existing 1999 constitution, so as to enable Nigerian Citizens take full ownership of their Constitution as well as reclaim their inalienable constitutional Sovereignty over the country, as applicable in advanced democracies of the world.
Finally, we wish to reteirate in unambiguos terms that we are not a group desperately out to acquire power at all cost. Therefore, we will not hesitate, if the political dynamism changes, to join hands with other similar ideological forces to create, collaborate, realign to endorse and adopt a credible alternative political party that shares our vision and objectives and passionate to give full vent and implementation to our vision, mission and programme for the redemption and prosperity of Nigeria.
This is the NCFront RESCUE AGENDA for Nigeria.
Thank you all!
Prof Pat Utomi
Rt Hon Ghali Umar Na’aba
Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed
Prof Kingsley Moghalu
Dr Obadiah Mailafia
Prof Mrs Remi Sonaiya
Comrade Issa Aremu
Prof Chidi Odinkalu
Chief Precious Elekima
Arch Ezekiel Nya-Etok
Dr Tanko Yunusa
HC Peter Ameh
For and On behalf of NCFront Facilitators
Veteran Olawale Okunniyi
Head of National Secretariat