National Conference: Civil society groups nominate Agbakoba, Ayo Obe, Onumah, 21 others

The organisations listed their core demands and valuesz

A former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Olisa Agbakoba; a former President of the Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Ayo Obe; and a PREMIUM TIMES Columnist, Chido Onumah; are among 24 members of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in Nigeria that have been nominated to represent the civic groups at the National Conference.

According to a statement on Friday by the Pro-Democracy Civil Society Organisations, a body of the various civic groups, other nominees are Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Chima Amadi, Isaac Osuoka, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Samson Itodo, Ayelabola Babatunde, Faith Nwadishi, Nnimmo Bassey, Jaye Gaskia, Olarenwaju Suraj, Uju Agomuo and Steve Aluko.

Naseer Kura, Y. Z. Yau, Dudu Paloma, Ngozi Obiorah, Abiola Akiode, Tor Yorapu, Ene Ede, Idayat Hassan and Jibrin Ibrahim were also nominated as delegates.

The nominees were drawn from different thematic groups in the CSO community in Nigeria.

The Federal Government, while unfolding the modalities of the confab last month, allocated 24 slots to the CSOs.

President Goodluck Jonathan will inaugurate the 492-member conference on March 10; though its three principal officers will be named on Monday.

The Pro-democracy CSOs statement signed by Ezenwa Nwagwu and Jaye Gaskia said the 24 persons were picked after a series of nationwide consultations initiated after the government released the modalities for the conference.

“We had first welcomed the proposed National Conference as an opportunity to engage with all the contentious issues facing our people and nation; and we had promised a robust, frank, but also critical engagement with the National Conference as a process,” it said.

“We reiterate our firm commitment to continue and deepen the pace and intensity of our engagement with the conference as process, that is with the processes leading to its convening; with the processes and deliberations during its duration; as well as with the processes post conference with respect to the mode of validating [through a referendum] and implementing its outcome.”

The group said it had, about three weeks ago, announced its engagement with the National Conference process and had insisted and laid historical claim to the right to provide the nominees for the Civil Society slot in the conference.

It also said that as a demonstration of its seriousness, it would establish a Pro-Democracy Society Engagement Coordinating Secretariat for the National Conference.

The secretariat, it stressed, would be hosted centrally by Social Action in Abuja.

“The secretariat will be decentralised with Geo-political zonal Pro-democracy CSOs coordinating secretariats established in each geo-political zone and hosted by a Pro-Democracy CSO or network in each zone,” it said.

The groups summarised the CSOs positions and demands as follows:

    • A justiceable and enforceable chapter of the constitution, including a comprehensive listing of Human Rights, including civil and political, social and cultural, as well as economic rights of citizens. This indeed is our social program for the engagement with the National Conference, and our minimum irreducible demand.
    • We reaffirm our demand that a minimum of two-thirds of delegates to the National Conference should comprise of non state actor delegates.
    • The National conference must resolve in unambiguous terms the question of citizenship of Nigeria. All Nigerians must have a uniform, common single citizenship of Nigeria; the only qualification for purposes of representation being determined minimum residency status.
    • Only a national Referendum can validate the outcome of the National Conference. We are insistent that sovereignty resides in the people of Nigeria not in any state institution.
    • The basic foundations of a road map to participatory political advancement and socio-economic development must be agreed and in such a manner as it can be articulated into a 5 year comprehensive integrated National Development Program, that will address and tackle unemployment, homelessness, and poverty.

 


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