Pat Utomi

OBINNA EZUGWU

Notable Nigerians across different fields, including former presidential candidate, Prof Pat Utomi; former House Speaker, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, senior lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), among others, on Tuesday launched a Constitution Drafting Committee and Coordinating Committee of the People’s Constitutional Dialogue, which they say will rescue Nigeria from the precipice and brink of nationwide insecurity, ethnic and civil anarchy.

Launched virtually and physically under the auspices of the National Consultative Front (NCFront), organisers noted that the intervention has become imperative since it is clear that the Nigerian Government and ruling political leadership in the country have lost the legitimacy and capacity to foster national harmony and political stability for the country.

Co-Chair of the NCFront Prof. Pat Utomi in his inauguration address said many of the current crises and afflictions confronting Nigeria are symptoms of a deeper malaise with the country which includes a collapse of culture, institutions, especially those of accountability, and the absence of a regime of consequence management.

“Beginning next week, the NCF will collaborate with the New Fabian Society of the Concerned Professionals and select media organizations to host Town Hall discussions on why Nigeria is sliding backwards and how to save and rebuild it,” he said.

He added further that, “as some political parties are validating and revalidating membership that is essentially disconnected, we are pleased to show the way in Nigeria with the launch, at the end of March, of a portal that is more interactive than Facebook through which we can ensure citizen power, participation and merchandising opportunities.

“It will enable members to interact on issues, local and national problems, and suggest policy options.

“This will happen from the level of cells, from which delegates can carry the mandates of their cells to the next level of thought aggregation at the LGA and further up. These interactive forums and communities of involved citizens all the way to the national will redefine politics in Nigeria.

“In this manner, we will build up citizens and democracy as truly a government of the people for the people and by the people, rather than the current reality of ‘democracy’ as government by the cabals, for the godfathers and anointed godsons, by the not so empathetic,” Utomi said.

Meanwhile, the NCFront in a communique issued after the launch and signed by Tanko Yunusa, the Head, Public Affairs Bureau stated that “the objectives and terms of reference of the national consensus-building committee shall be to engage all key stakeholders within the Nigerian project nationwide, facilitate robust national consultations and dialogue among them, collate memoranda and build consensus among Nigerian stakeholders on various Nigerian national questions such as and not limited to;

Proper and acceptable federating units for Nigeria, devolution of constitutional powers, appropriate governance system and structures for Nigeria, citizenship, indigenes – settlers (farmers – herders) matters, independent Slstate Institutions & Commissions, Justiceable rights of Citizens, Framework for State Constitutions, Policing, Military Operations, Democracy and guidelines for political parties, tenure of office, judicial reforms and access to justice in Nigeria, parliamentary reforms and principle of proportional Rlrepresentations in Nigeria, civil service reforms, youth and women empowerment, self-determination principles, referendum/plebiscite, among others that may be duly proposed by Nigerian stakeholders in the process of the national consultation.

“This intervention has become imperative for us in the NCFront, as citizens of conscience, as it’s now quite clear that the Nigerian Government and ruling political leadership in Nigeria have lost the legitimacy and capacity to foster national harmony and political stability for the country and it will formally be open to delegates and the Nigerian stakeholders on May 1st 2021.

“Groups and constituencies expected to send delegates to this historic citizen’s driven national dialogue, include, diverse indigenous peoples Groups in Nigeria, Civil Society and Professional groups, labour unions, religious bodies, political Parties, Persons Living with Disabilities, Youth and women groups among others, while the coordinating committee is expected to consult and seek occasional intervention of selected eminent elders, among whom are Prof Wole Soyinka, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Prof Ben Nwabueze, SAN, Prof Ango Abdullahi, Chief Edwin Clark, Commodore Dan Suleiman and Chief Olu Falae, among others on very relevant but knotty issues of the Confab from time to time.”

The ceremony was flagged off by NCFront Co-Chairpersons, Ghali Umar Na’aba, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Prof Pat Utomi, who charged the committee to work assiduously to make the Draft People’s Constitution of Nigeria available by December 2021.

The structure of the committee is broken into four categories. The Co-chairs, Dr Olisa, Agbakoba (SAN), Dr Usman Bugaje, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, and Rev Fr. (Dr) George Ehusani, with Agbakoba as lead anchor, setting a direction for the work and Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed as Secretary of the Coordinating Committee.

Other members of the coordinating committee of the “independent, people’s driven” National Constitutional Dialogue are, Father George Ehusani, Buba Galadima, Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu, Hadjia Najatu Mohammed, Mike Ozekhome SAN, Amb Mrs Nkoyo Toyo, Sen. Chris Anyanwu, Usman Bugaje, Sen. Mike Ajegbo, Femi Falana (SAN), and many others.