A few weeks ago, when the Federal Government of Nigeria released the modalities for the proposed National Conference, representatives of Pro-Democracy Civil Society Organisations across the country had initiated a series of nationwide consultations with respect to the proposed conference.
We had first welcomed the proposed National Conference as an opportunity to engage with all the contentious issues facing our people and nation; and we had promised a robust, frank, but also critical engagement with the National Conference as a process. We reiterate our firm commitment to continue and deepen the pace and intensity of our engagement with the conference as process, that is with the processes leading to its convening; with the processes and deliberations during its duration; as well as with the processes post conference with respect to the mode of validating [through a referendum] and implementing its outcome.
For the avoidance of doubt, and as a demonstration of our seriousness, we are establishing a Pro-Democracy Civil Society Engagement Coordinating Secretariat for the National Conference. This secretariat will be hosted centrally by Social Action in Abuja. The secretariat will be decentralised with Geo-political zonal Pro-democracy CSOs coordinating secretariats established in each geo-political zone and hosted by a Pro-Democracy CSO or network in each zone.
The purpose and role of the central and zonal coordinating secretariats is to facilitate continuous aggregation of Citizen's positions on issues being discussed at the National Conference; while also ensuring a feedback mechanism for Pro-Democracy CSO delegates to the National Conference. The mandates of the Pro-Democracy CSOs delegates will be constantly renewed and revalidated through the interactive activities coordinated by the secretariats.
Our collective program of action for the National Conference is anchored around our core demands; our duty and task before, during and after the conference is to raise the banner of social justice and equity; and to defend and promote the interests of citizens.
Towards this end we reiterate our positions and demands, summarised but not limited to the listing below:
*A justiceable and enforceable chapter of the constitution including a comprehensive listing of Human Rights, including civil and political, social and cultural, as well as economic rights of citizens. This indeed is our social program for the engagement with the National Conference, and our minimum irreducible demand.
*We reaffirm our demand that a minimum of two-thirds of delegates to the National Conference should comprise of non state actor delegates.
*The National conference must resolve in unambiguous terms the question of citizenship of Nigeria. All Nigerians must have a uniform , common single citizenship of Nigeria; the only qualification for purposes of representation being determined minimum residency status.
*Only a national Referendum can validate the outcome of the National Conference. We are insistent that sovereignty resides in the people of Nigeria not in any state institution.
*The basic foundations of a road map to participatory political advancement and socio-economic development must be agreed and in such a manner as it can be articulated into a 5 year comprehensive integrated National Development Program, that will address and tackle unemployment, homelessness, and poverty.
In conclusion, about 3 weeks ago, when we announced our engagement with the National Conference process, we had insisted and laid historical claim to the right to provide the nominees for the Civil Society slot in the National Conference.
After exhaustive consultations, we have put forward a list of nominees to become delegates, with mandates, representing the Pro-democracy Civil Society Constituency in the National Conference.
We hereby release the list of our preferred nominees as Pro-democracy Civil Society organisations:
1. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
2. Dr. Chima Amadi
3. Chido Onumah
4. Dr. Isaac Osuoka
5. Ezenwa Nwagwu
6. Samson Itodo
7. Comrade Ayelabola Babatunde
8. Faith Nwadishi
9. Rev. Nnimmo Bassey
10. Jaye Gaskia
11. Ms Ayo Obe
12. Olarenwaju Suraj
13. Dr. Uju Agomuo
14. Steve Aluko
15. Cheif Olisa Agbakoba
16. Naseer Kura
17. Y Z Yau
18. Dudu Paloma
19. Ngozi Obiorah
20. Dr. Abiola Akiode
21. Tor Yorapu
22. Ms. Ene Ede
23. Idayat Hassan
24. Dr. Jibo Ibrahim
( (1)Ezenwa Nwagwu