6th February, 2012
Prominent Nigerians including Chief Kalu Idika Kalu, Edwin Clark, Kaduna State second republic governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, today called for true federalism and resource control in Nigeria.
Contributing to a dialogue on the state of the nation at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, they called on government to organise a round table discussion among the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
Alhaji Musa said Nigeria’s existence depends largely on the grace of God as the country is fast moving towards a failed state.
He said there was need to call a national conference where each region in Nigeria will register its grievances and look for a way forward.
Chief Clark told the gathering that he had listened carefully to the lamentations of eminent Nigerians since the country had been on the verge of collapse, but he regretted that nobody has asked what went wrong or why we are where we are today.
Clark also lent support for a national conference and not a sovereign conference, where everybody will sit down and formulate a way forward.
Contributing, Chief Olu Falae condemned the military for pushing Nigeria to the sorry state she is in today.
He added that there is the need to establish a genuine federation that will keep Nigeria together.
Others who also made contributions include former PDP national chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Mr. Tony Uranta, Mike Ozekhome, Prof. Pat Utomi.
Also speaking at the occasion, Annkio Briggs, a Niger Delta activist, stated that most governors in the country are lazy as they rely on allocations from the federal government instead of generating their own source of income.
She added that Niger Delta militants will return to the trenches if nothing changes in the country.
She condemned a stituation where people claim that Niger Delta oil bleongs to Nigeria while the oil spills and pollutions in the area are left to the Niger Deltans to deal with.
In his contribution, Graham Douglas condemned a situation where no Nothern elite has come out openly to condemn the Boko Haram problem.
He said only a National Sovereign Conference will make it possible for Nigerians to continue to live together.
Former Information Minister, John Nwodo said the security forces in the country should be overhauled as they have failed the country.
He said the country cannot move forward where security officers extort money from the citizens and still expect them to give meaningful information to them.
Nwodo added that the ongoing dialogue should be a continuous affair so that those in government will use it as a medium to know the stand of the people.
“People should be allowed to write their own constitution,” he said.
Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former governor of Anambra State, said the country cannot move forward without proper restructuring.
“All Nigerians need one Nigeria. We need a country that works,” he said.
Meanwhile, civil society groups stormed the venue of the dialogue carrying placards that they were not represented at the discussion.
The groups led by Rasak Oladosun carried placards with inscriptions such as “We Want Sovereign National Conference”, “Sovereignty Belongs To The People”, and “Nigerians Let’s Talk SNC Now.”
More speakers were still contributing as at press time. The two-day dialogue continues tomorrow.
—Jamiu Yisa & Henry Ojelu