Eminent Nigerians Seek Dialogue Over Nation's Woes


Some eminent Nigerians on Wednesday in Lagos called for urgent national dialogue on the nation’s problems and possible solutions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the citizens made the appeal under the aegis of the Steering Committee of the National Summit Group (NSG) at their inaugural meeting.

The three-day meeting at the Sheraton Hotels began on Wednesday.

NAN reports that the committee is to work out the modalities for the NSG-planned national dialogue on the state of the nation.

Members of the committee are from the various geo-political zones of the country.

They include: Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Adviser to President Shehu Shagari of the second republic; Chief John Nwodo, Protem Chairman of the group and former Minister of Information, and Dr. Frederick Fasheun, the Founder of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress.

Others are: Chief Tonye Graham Douglas, former Minister of Youths, Sports and Culture; Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chairman, Fourth Dimension Publishers;, and Mrs. Ganiyat Fawehinmi, wife of late legal luminary and rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of the NSG, Mr. Tony Uranta, said that Nigeria was afflicted by heightening insecurity and other problems.

He said that there was the need for Nigerians to discuss the problems and suggest solutions.

Uranta said that the NSG had discovered that the various ethnic groups in the country desired an end to the problems for a better Nigeria.

Speaking, Nwodo urged all well meaning Nigerians to make useful suggestions on how to solve the country’s many problems.

“It is a clarion call for all patriotic Nigerians to rise and make meaningful contributions for a speedy and peaceful resolution of our national crises.

“Our present situation abhors undue partisanship, sycophancy and boot –licking,” he said.

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Nwodo claimed that Nigeria’s structure at the moment threatened its unity, peace and rapid development.

Graham-Douglas claimed that Nigeria’s problems resulted from its defective constitution.

“We must immediately begin the process of restructuring the nation,” he said.

The former minister urged the Federal Government to spearhead the national dialogue since it had the capacity to involve all the strata of the nation.

In his submissions, Fasheun said that Nigeria must be restructured and reformed to be able to move forward.

“We need a decent people’s constitution because the 1999 Constitution, put together by the military, did not represent the peoples’ wish,” he said.

Commenting, Yakassai said that the North-West geo-political zone was in support of the dialogue.

“Nigeria has everything to gain by it,” he said.

Also speaking, Alhaji Babagana Bunu, who said he was representing the North- East geo-political zone, expressed the hope that the conflicts in Nigeria could be resolved through dialogue.

“At this period of the Boko Haram insurgency, such a dialogue is more than welcome,” he said.

Nwankwo also decried the poor economic situation of the country.

“If we get the politics right, we get the economy right; if we get the economy right, we get everything right,” he said.

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