NCFront: Crafting a new Modus Vivendi
By Patrick O. Utomi
Distinguished Citizen volunteers of the People’s CDC,
Leaders of the NCFront,
Colleagues from the 4th estate,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am honored to make these remarks to flag off this citizen effort to develop a draft working document that we hope will serve as the basis for public discussions that can lead us to a consensus or basis for a referendum, by the Nigerian people, on a social compact of how we can live together for the purpose of social harmony, between the members of the Nigerian nation, the Governed and those who govern, and the various tiers of government such that a developmental state, with deep concerns for the dignity of the human person may facilitate our individual, and collective desire for liberty, fraternity, human solidarity and progress. Such a Constitution should enable us live fulfilled lives in peace and joy.
But before we formally charge the esteemed members of this committee with the huge task before them, let me make a few announcements flowing fromt thequiet but hard work by the leadership of the NCF and its Secretariat.
First I want to announce that the NCF is concluding arrangements with a leading financial institution to register all who are interested in becoming instruments for change and national renewal through the NCF, on a portal that will offer benefits to members including debit and credit cards and access to developmental financial assistance and services. Those who are registered members will also have the benefit of skills and entrepreneurship training supported by our partners.
Secondly, as some political parties are validating and revalidating membership that is essentially disconnected, we are pleased to show the way in Nigeria with the launch, at the end of March, of a portal that is more interactive than Facebook through which we can ensure citizen power, participation and merchandising opportunities . It will enable members to interact on issues, local and national problems, and suggest policy options.
This will happen from the level of cells, from which delegates can carry the mandates of their cells to the next level of thought aggregation at the LGA and further up. These interactive forums and communities of involved citizens all the way to the national will redefine politics in Nigeria. In this manner we will build up citizens and democracy as truly a government of the people for the people and by the people, rather than current reality of ‘democracy’ as government by the cabals, for the godfathers and anointed godsons, by the not so empathetic.
Thirdly, the NCF is acutely aware that many of the current crisis and afflictions confronting Nigeria are actually just symptoms of deeper malaise with the country which includes a collapse of culture, institutions, especially those of accountability, and the absence of a regime of consequence management.
Beginning next week the NCF will collaborate with the New Fabian Society of the Concerned Professionals and select media organizations to host Town Hall discussions on why Nigeria is sliding backward and how to save and rebuild it.
The first in the series will seek to hold professional bodies like The Bar Association, ICAN, ANAN, etc accountable for the conduct of their members in public life. The Bar Association can sure not escape blame and must call their members in public life to order if the judiciary, Attorneys-General and Elections Lawyers are the ones messing up our democracy.
We can challenge ICAN and Accountants on the corruption and transparency challenges in government. We can say the same for Bankers and abuse of state finances.
So our Town Hall meetings will bring together experts, ordinary people and categories of stakeholders in conditions of Frank talk.
With these announcements out of the way I want to urge our star-studded CDC committee to please get hold of all the constitutions drafted in Nigeria, carefully review them, and in the light of current experience suggest what is a just, fair, equitable, and dignifying way we can live in productive economic systems that our children’s children can look back to when we started this process and feel proud of us.
The structure of the committee is broken into four categories. The co-chairs, Dr Olisa, Agbakoba(SAN), Dr Usman Bugaje, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, and Rev Fr. (Dr) George Ehusani, with Agbakoba as chair of chairs, will set direction for the work of the drafting. Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed will serve as Secretary of the committee.
Then there are members of the committee, ex officio members, and Advisors.
NCF co-chairs, and some steering committee members constitute the ex-IU officio members. Advisors include people with specialty skills like Prof. Isawa Elaigwu, Africa’s leading Federalism scholar and Ambassador (Dr) Martins Ohomoibi, one time Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Members of the historic coordinating committee of this independent, people’s driven National Constitutional Confab are, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Father George Ehusani, Alhaji Buba Galadima, Dr Mrs Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu, Hadjia Najatu Mohammed, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Amb Mrs Nkoyo Toyo, Sen. Chris Anyanwu, Dr Muiz Banire(SAN), Sen. Mike Ajegbo, Femi Falana(SAN), Rev. Chris Nubia, Prof Ademola Abbas and Prof Anthony Kila as well as members of the Secretariat of the Coordinating Committee to be announced soon. Ex officio Members of this special interventionist Committee, includes, Rt Hon Ghali Umar Na’aba, Prof Pat Utomi, Prof Attahiru Jega and Veteran Olawale Okunniyi.
The objectives and terms of reference of this historic national consensus building committee shall be to engage all key Stakeholders within the Nigerian project nationwide, facilitate robust national consultations and dialogue among them, Collate Memoranda and build consensus among Nigerian Stakeholders on various Nigerian national questions such as and not limited to; Proper and Acceptable federating units for Nigeria, Devolution of constitutional powers, appropriate governance system and structures for Nigeria, Citizenship, Indigenes – Settlers (Farmers – Herders) matters, Independent State Institutions & Commissions, Justiceable rights of Citizens, Framework for State Constitutions, Policing, Military Operations, Democracy and Guidelines for Political Parties, Tenure of office, Judicial Reforms & Access to Justice in Nigeria, Parliamentary Reforms & Principle of Proportional Representations in Nigeria, Civil Service Reforms, Youth and Women empowerments, Self determination Principles, Referendum/Plebiscite, among others that may be duly proposed by Nigerian Stakeholders in the process of the National consultation.
Groups and Constituencies expected to send delegates to this historic Citizen’s driven National Dialogue, includes, Representatives of Indigenous Peoples Groups, Civil Society and Professional Groups, Labour Unions, Religious Bodies, Political Parties, Persons Living with Disabilities Group, Youth and Women Groups, among others, while the Coordinating Committee is expected to consult and seek the advice of selected eminent Elders, among whom are Prof Wole Soyinka, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Eminent Jurist, Prof Ben Nwabueze, SAN, Prof Ango Abdullahi, Chief Edwin Clark, Commodore Dan Suleiman and Chief Olu Falae, among others on very relevant thorny and knotty issues from time to time.
All Members, Stakeholders and Allies of the NCFront are expected to attend the inauguration of the vintage Coordinating Committee of the People’s Constitutional Conference, which is expected to produce a new draft People’s Constitution for Nigeria by December, 2021.
Wishing you best of luck and success in your historical tasks to rescue and save Nigeria from the brink of anarchy and collapse.
Patrick Okedinachi Utomi