Dialogue critical in restructuring agitation—SCDDD

The Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD), has called for national dialogue to address agitations in parts of the country.

Executive Director of the centre, Abm. Abdullahi Omaki, made the call at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the agitation for secession and restructuring of the country by different groups in the country was becoming disturbing and needed to be addressed.

He noted that the development was driven “more by frustration of the perceived lack of effectiveness of governments than by a serious desire by any part to secede“.

Omaki said that one major source of disaffection was the issue of restructuring, a concept that meant different things to different people as well as provoked different reactions.

“For some, it means the devolution of more power from the Federal Government to the states and local governments in the interest of true federalism.

“For others, it means the creation of more political units and local governments for certain parts of the country; for others still, it means financial freedom and more control over resources,“ he said.

He added that it was against that backdrop that the centre was convinced that an urgent open and frank discussion was necessary in the overall interest of national cohesion and unity.

The director also said that as part of its contribution toward the national discourse and finding lasting solutions to the recurrent agitations for self-determination, the centre planned to organise a policy monitoring dialogue.

He disclosed that the dialogue had been slated for July 13 and July 14, in Abuja, and would be organised by the centre in collaboration with the Ford Foundation.

According to him, critical stakeholders from government, civil society organisations and public affairs analyst as well as leaders of the various groups from the six geopolitical zones are expected at the dialogue.

Omaki added that the discussion would bother on salient issues that were critical to national unity.

He expressed optimism that the forum would help to calm present tension and provide a platform for agreeing on well-articulated actionable recommended strategies and mechanisms required by government to improve national cohesion.

Omaki said the objective of the forum was to understand the basis for the agitation and assess the threat levels of any unconstitutional modes of agitation.

He said that it would also identify implementable strategies and policies for addressing the security challenges thrown up by recent sectional wranglings from some sections of the country.

He also said that the forum would seek ways of addressing the incessant agitations by various groups such as IPOB and MASSOB.

This, Omaki said, was especially so since the question of marginalisation had not been effectively addressed since the country gained independence in 1960.

He added that the forum would also re-examine the question of devolution of power among the three tiers of government among other things.

According to him, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to be the Guest of Honour and keynote speaker at the forum.

He added that former Vice- President, Atiku Abubakar and Chief Emeka Anyaoku, a former Commonwealth Secretary-General and Chief John Nwodo, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, would also grace the event.

SCDDD is a non-governmental organisation that aims to contribute to an integrated Africa that is prosperous, peaceful and driven by her own citizens.

The centre which is founded by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative at the United Nations, represents a dynamic force in the international arena.


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