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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  • concernednigerian

    They are not serious.

    • Tonnero

      What parts do you not like? I personally think the citizenship based strictly on residency is DOA ( Dead On Arrival). Not that it is a bad idea. However, there is just too much distrust and out ethnic identities far too easily recognizable for it to work. What will probably work is a road map towards having that.

  • adebayo

    which citizenship based on residency are you people talking about? If you do not dismantle the backward tribal structures in many of the Nigerian states which are so clannish, anachronistic, exclusive and unfriendly to people from outside the state please DO NOT talk about any citizenship based on residency. Such talk will be a CHEAT and it will be DUBIOUS. You come to a particular state, you become a resident because of the cultural inclusive ethos in that state, but you deny same residency in the state you come from because of the anarchronism and clannish exclusive practices in that state. So please do not start a dubious process of some residency based on citizenship if all Nigerian nationalities are not welcoming on equitable grounds. It will not work-it will be dubious, a cheat, and inherently faulty.

  • wale

    With due respect to caliber of some people on the list, i think this is a kangaroo and highly undemocratic form of selection. What are the criteria for selection?, on what basis?, who selected who?, was this advertised and calls for nominations sought for like in advanced climes ?, Was due process followed?Did they use the CIVICUS methods?, Iam highly disappointed that the civil society could not adhere to democratic means of selecting people fro this confab!, Isnt it ludicrous that during the 2012 protests civil society groups asked people to pour out enmasse,into the streets, but now some people masquerading as cs representatives just sat down somewhere and silently selected their cronies without inputs from the same people they told to protest the 2012 fuel hike l? where is the fairness or integrity in the process? The burlesque and surreal tinge to the whole charade was evinced by the fact that the two people who signed this notice bizarrely selected themselves! How by jove can you be the jury and judge of a process? It is just like a job applicant seating on an interview panel conveyed to select people for the same job he or she is applying for!, the whole exercise is smeared and compromised.

    It is so unfortunate that the role and effectiveness of the so called CSO in the so called National confab is already dead on arrival. A situation whereby some people just sat down and chose their sidekicks, cronies and beer buddies is not only pathetic, but is also at variance with the essence and tenets of the civil society movement!, Cant they take a cue from the equally kangarroic centenary celebrations that was boycotted by the families of Ransome Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi, MKO Abiola and Wole Soyinka?, but in all honestly, the people who sat down and frivolously nominated people without due process did neither themselves and equality, fairness, transparency and due process and the CS Movement in Nigeria no favors at all

  • ayomi

    It is gratifying that Chido Onumah has been nominated to attend the national conference, he is
    worthy of being part of the deliberations. Also, it would have been nice if each and every one at the conference had read his book “Nigeria is Negotiable” before attending this event.

    In this book, Onumah wrote series of essays that would have been great source of inspiration,
    road map, knowledge and optimism to the conferees. Onumah quoted the late Chief Bola Ige timeless question on Nigeria’s Unity “There are two basic questions that must be answered by all of us Nigerians. One, do we want to remain as one country? Two, if the answer is yes, under what conditions?”
    And Onumah is a true patriot. I pray that he is selected to participate in the conference. His voice will bring reason and hope to the conference.

    For Nigerians in the diaspora, the book will help you gain a great understanding of politics, key
    players, and events that had taken place in Nigeria within the last three decades. He also wrote “Time to Reclaim Nigeria”. Another great book