COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF A SOUTH-SOUTH SUMMIT ON RESTRUCTURING NIGERIA INTRODUCTION Project Nigeria Movement, a Civil Society Organiza
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF A SOUTH-SOUTH SUMMIT ON RESTRUCTURING NIGERIA
Project Nigeria Movement, a Civil Society Organization, held a South-South geopolitical Summit on Restructuring Nigeria. The Summit, which was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Saturday, 27 January 2018, at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Center, was attended by delegates and participants from the six States in the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria.
The Summit on Restructuring was organized to articulate a clear, compelling and propitious position on the raging debate for the political and economic restructuring of Nigeria in ways to ensure that the federating units enjoy the freedom to own, control, and develop their resources.
The Summit on Restructuring was chaired by His Excellency, King Alfred PapapreyeDiete-Spiff, First Military Governor of the old Rivers State, and now Amanyanabo of Twon Brass and Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers.
His Excellency, NyesomEzenwoWike, CON, delivered the Keynote Address at the Summit, which was attended by more than 600 delegates, representing the six States in the South-South geo-political zones of the Country. Notable Leaders who also addressed the Summit are:
His Excellency, (Obong) Victor Attah (former Governor of AkwaIbom State);
Senator (Mrs.) Florence Ita-Giwa;
Dr. Theophilus C. Osanakpo, SAN.
HRM, King KalehObuge;
Engr. Charles Ambaowei;
Mr. Michael Orobaton;
Prof. S. C. Achinewhu;
Ms. Ann-Kio Briggs;
Dr. Mrs. Grace Akolokwu;
Senator EwaHenshaw; and
In his Keynote address, Governor Wike posited that:
“From independence, the task before our Leaders has been to build a united and prosperous country in which everyone and every part can have a sense of belonging. Fifty-eight years after, this vision remains a mirage. Instead, our country is becoming increasingly divided, disorganized, and stunted even as the drumbeats of hate, violence and blood spilling continue to reverberate with unprecedented intensity across the country.”
Governor NyesomWike, reiterated the commitment of the people of the South-South in general and Rivers State in particular, to the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria. He expressed the belief of the people in the indivisibility of Nigeria, and expressed confidence in its diversity as the strongest potential source for our national strength and progress.
CONSCIOUS of the fact that the present structure was decreed and imposed on the country by a team of adventurist soldiers, who erroneously thought that political centralization would smoothen existing cleavages and strengthen national unity in our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country;
DESIROUS of a Nation where the Structure and governance meets the yearnings, aspirations, interests and overall wellbeing of the ethnic nationalities, and religious groups who constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
RECOGNIZING that the present Federal structure and practice in Nigeria is odd, a hang-over from the military administrations of our past, and a mutation of unitary principles on a clearly diverse environment;
FURTHER RECOGNIZING that the centralization policy framework that drives the federal system in Nigeria is incongruous with federalism, and is, therefore, responsible for all the ills plaguing the country directly or indirectly;
AWARE of the deterioration of the security situation in Nigeria and the various forms of manipulation and abuse of the Nigeria (Federal) Police Force, by incumbents against the opposition, especially during electioneering period and after the coming into power of a new government, has led to strident calls for State Police;
NOTING that although no political substructure or system is flawless, ours is not a political structure that could be fixed from within through patchwork or intermittent adjustments;
CONSCIOUS of the previous efforts of our leaders, in concert with other nationalists from around the country, to reform, reshape, and restructure the basis and principles of our nation;
CONVINCED that the need to restructure Nigeria has been established and has become a matter of national priority;
ACKNOWLEDGING that Restructuring is the response to the anti-federalist diversion, seeking for the re-ordering of Nigeria by granting more powers, autonomy, resources and responsibilities to the States and Local Governments, and creation of new centres of growth and prosperity through Regional integration;
ACCEPTING that Restructuring provides the most peaceful platform for saving the country from imminent collapse or disintegration and re-establishing Nigeria as a just, fair, equitable and productive Nation of equal opportunities;
AGREED that the essential purpose of Restructuring is to enable the component ethnic nationalities, bound by culture affinity, language and territorial contiguity, to govern themselves in matters of internal concern, leaving matters of common concern to be managed under a central government constituted in such a manner as to ensure that it is not dominated by any one group or a combination of them, and above all to ensure Justice, Fairness and Equity.
HAVING THOROUGHLY EXAMINED the national discourse on Restructuring, and
ACKNOWLEDGING the positive stance of the Governors of Rivers State and other Governors in the zone, passed the following Resolutions as the position of the South-South Political Zone in the country on the Restructuring of the Nigerian Polity;
RESOLVED that the way forward is:
RESTRUCTURING OF NIGERIA
• SUPPORT the peoples and leaders of the South-East, South-West, and North Central geo-political Zones, in the call for restructuring of Nigeria.
• TRUE FEDERALISM
Devolution of Legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between the Federal Government and States as the Federating Units, with clear demarcation between the responsibility to legislate and the execution of responsibilities in each sphere.
The Federal Government shall have exclusive power to legislate on and be responsible for Armed Forces and Defence, Federal Police, Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Emigration, Customs and Excise, Currency, Weights and Measures, and Nuclear Energy.
• RESOURCE OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL
The right of the people of a Federating Unit to own and control their natural resources, especially Mines and Mineral Resources, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas shall be recognized in the new Constitution. This is without prejudice to the obligation of the Federal Government to support the development of mineral resources throughout Nigeria.
Appropriate taxes shall be paid by the federating Units to the Federal Government.
• STATE POLICE
The power of the federating units to establish their own separate Police Forces to exist side by side with the Federal Police and with clearly defined powers and authority should be provided for in the Constitution.
• A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR NIGERIA
The National Assembly should, as a matter of priority enact an Act to convoke a National Constituent Assembly with the mandate to deliberate on and a new Constitution. The new Constitution shall be subject to a National Referendum to bring it into force.
Professor KimseOkoko – Bayelsa State.
His Excellency, (Obong) Victor Attah – AkwaIbom State.
Chief O. C. J. Okocha, SAN, MFR – Rivers State.
His Excellency, Donald Duke – Cross River State.
Solomon Asemota, SAN – Rivers State.
Chief IduAmaidhe – Delta State
Senator Florence Ita-Giwa
Chief Fred Obe
Signed by the Communiqué Committee for the Conveners:
Dr. (Chief) Silas Eneyo – Chairman
Dr. Shedrack A. Akolokwu – Member
Dr. SofiriJoabPeterside – Member
Mr. Clifford Amede – Member
Hon. NimiWalson-Jack – Secretary