Eminent Nigerians Warn Jonathan…Says Nigeria Drifting Towards Failed State
President Goodluck Jonathan has been alerted on the danger of allowing the nation to continue its present course of drifting towards a failed state. The warning was issued today by a group of eminent Nigerians under the aegis of The Patriots.
Addressing a press conference on the state of the nation in Lagos, the group raised the alarm that Nigerians have lost confidence in the ability of the federal government to resolve the enormous problems confronting the nation.
Former Minister of Education and Youth development, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, who read the group’s statement, also called on President Jonathan, to “reconstruct his government immediately and appoint a competent, energetic, selfless, patriotic team, which will assist him in initiating the peaceful but far-reaching revolution involved.”
The group noted that the unease among the people is further heightened by the increasing demands for more states and local governments, “seen by many of the would-be ruler’s of the new entities as the quickest way to personal fortune and not necessarily for dedicated public service, to spread development and improve the standard of living and quality of life of the vast majority of our people.”
Nwabueze, who also commented on the face-off between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan on how best to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, said: “Security of lives and property is the foremost challenge for any government. On the issue of Boko Haram, we do not believe that it is being tackled effectively by the Federal Government. There is need to do more though we are not in a position to say more about security because it is a sensitive matter.”
The group listed the grave challenges facing the country to include: pervasive corruption; outrageous remuneration of political office holders; detoriating security situation; proliferation of government agencies and government’s failure to begin to deliver on improved infrastructure of power and transportation.
Others are inability to deliver on improvements on educational facilities, failure to punish appropriately and promptly the few persons found guilty of corruption as well as failure to embark on effective and widespread publicity of Vision 2020 and the Jonathan 2011 – 2015 Transformation Agenda to demonstrate the commitment and determination of the leadership to implement it.
Insisting that time is running out of for a peaceful well-mamged change, The Patriots said: “In order to avoid the horrors of descent into a very bloody and destructive anarchy, there is need for a revolutionary change of attitude amongst key elements of the national leadership and the emergence of a re-awakened and re-vitalised responsive government.
“It is the duty and historical challenge of President Goodluck Jonathan as the democratically elected president of the country in whom authority for government is vested; to initiate and lead the necessary revolutionary changes to enable the nation avoid the horrendous holocaust which threatens.”
This, the group explained, requires an immediate return to all the important criteria and conditions of good governance; and the initiation of the process for convening a National Conference that will produce a peoples’ constitution, as the 1999 Constitution (as ammended) is a product of the military.
The Patriots said: “The initiation of the process for convening a National Conference for producing a peoples’ constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose source of authority, as the supreme law of the land, is the people, acting in a National Conference and a Referendum, otherwise called a Peoples’ Constitution.
“The purpose of the conference is to enable the people of this country, as members of ethnic groups and as individuals, to deliberate and agree on how they are to live together in peace and unity, and to work out a programme of ensuring development and progress for the benefit of all Nigerians and for promoting nation-building and integration of the various ethnic groups in the country in equality and freedom, and the continuing development of the Nigerian nation.
“The Patriots believe that a national front comprising itself, Project Nigeria, Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Northern Elders Forum, Middle Belt Forum, Conference of Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta, South-South Peoples Assembly and other civil society organisations, is necessary to facilitate the process of convening a National Conference.
“We (The Patriots) are at present actively engaged in efforts to create such front. When the effort is completed, a meeting of the front with Mr. President and leaders of the National Assembly will be organised, and a memorandum on the National Conference submitted to them, accompanied by a draft bill on the subject, covering all aspects of it, particularly representation at the conference, election/selection of delegates, preparationof a draft constitution and its submission and adoption at a referendum.”
The group further disclosed that it will approach certain persons who command reverence and credibility as “fathers of the nation” to join in appealing to the President and the leaders of the National Assembly to accede to the demand for convening the National Conference.
According to the group, “we are only postponing the evil day untill we have a National Conference. We must have it, if we don’t have it now, we will have it some day.”
On good governance, the group said a president imbued with a revolutionary ardour for national transformation can in a matter of weeks begin to make the people notice a change in the purpose and pace of government.
The aspects of good governance, which must be embraced, according to The Patriots, include total respect for the Rule of Law; efficient and prompt administration of justice; predictability, objectivity and consistency in government measures; zero tolerance for corruption and reduction of cost of election among others.
Among members of the group present at the briefing were Olorogun Felix Ibru, Gen Alani Akinriade, Sir Olaniwon Ajayi, Chief Philip Asiodu, Chief Mrs. Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, Engr Chris Okoye, Chief Solomon Asemota, Senator Ben Obi, Mr. Michael Orabotor and Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
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