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Nigeria’s major ethnic nationalities’ leaders warn of “grave dangers” pushing “our beloved country to the brink”

  • Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum attended the Consultative Dialogue, convened and facilitated by Obasanjo

A two-day meeting of leaders of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities ended in Abuja with a warning that the nation is facing “grave dangers” which have combined to push our beloved country to the brink.”

In a communique at the end of the meeting, the groups identified the “grave dangers” as the “deterioration of governance, the economy, security, political intolerance, worsening social and inter-communal cohesion, poor performance of democratic and electoral structures, declining faith in leadership and those charged with leadership at all levels.”

They therefore resolved to work towards empowering a Panels of Experts to discuss, address and make recommendations, amongst others, on Nigeria’s federal structure and devolution of power, responsibilities and resources.

A Consultative Dialogue involving the following organisations was convened on 9 and 10 September to deliberate on the state of the nation and critical challenges facing Nigeria.

The communique, signed by Ambassador Ahmed Magaji, said that Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Pan Niger Delta Forum attended the Consultative Dialogue, convened and facilitated by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

The communique added that Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum; Chairman, APC Governors Forum and Chairman, PDP Governors Forum were briefed on the meeting.

It was at the opening ceremony of the meeting that Chief Obasanjo said that Nigeria is fast drifting into a ‘failed and badly divided state’ under President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that these are the products of recent “mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country.”

The communique also said that the meeting was held “following fairly extensive consultations, and support and encouragement received from elder statesmen, traditional, religious, political and business leaders across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

“The meeting noted the grave dangers Nigeria is facing especially in the areas of deterioration of governance, the economy, security, political intolerance, worsening social and inter-communal cohesion, poor performance of democratic and electoral structures, declining faith in leadership and those charged with leadership at all levels which have combined to push our beloved country to the brink. The meeting identified the primacy of pulling Nigeria back from the brink and resolved to deploy their individual and collective efforts to achieve that objective.

“The participating organisations commit to support and involve themselves in all activities targeted at improving the Nigerian Constitution for the purpose of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of all Nigerian citizens. Participants further resolved to mobilise Nigerians to support and work towards improving understanding and fraternal relations among all groups constituting Nigeria.

“The meeting further committed itself to work with other organisations, groups and governmental organs at all levels to improve the quality of governance and the democratic and electoral processes as well as on all matters that can positively impact and improve the economic wellbeing of the Nigerian citizen.

“The meeting agreed to set up Panels of Experts to discuss, address and make recommendations on the following subjects: a) Nigeria’s federal structure and devolution of power, responsibilities and resources.

b) Security

c) Electoral reforms and ensuring the integrity and credibility of elections

d) Local Governments autonomy and effective administration

e) The economy and fiscal federalism

f) Judicial reforms

g) Other matters central to the survival of Nigeria

“The participants resolved to commit themselves to the implementation of agreed reforms and recommendations arising out of this initiative in the speediest and most acceptable process.”

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