Onaiyekan, Jega, others call for a ‘National People’s Conference’
The former Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the ex-Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, and other civil right activists on Friday for the convening of a National People’s Conference to address Nigeria’s challenges.
The coalition under the umbrella of the Nigeria Working Group on Peace Building and Governance made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting in Abuja.
The group offered key observations and recommendations on how citizens could collectively create synergy in seeking pathways to the rebuilding of the country.
Other members of the civil society actors that took part in the meeting were – Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (retd), Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr. Nguyan Shaku Feese, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Adagbo Onoja and Amb. Fatima Balla.
Also at the meeting were – Amb. Zango Abdu,Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Dr. Chris Kwaja, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Kemi Okenyodo, Mr. Jim Gala, Mrs. Aisha Muhammed Oyebode and Tsema Yvonne.
The group said in the absence of a binding narrative, several conspiracy theories had emerged with immense capacity to divide the country along the ethnic and religion lines.
It, therefore, recommended that apart from a people-centred dialogue process, Nigerians in their communities, associations, civil society groupings, women and youth groups should accelerate ongoing discussions to deepen the emerging consensus.
The coalition also recommended the prosecution of criminality and violent confrontations between farming and herding communities which had claimed thousands of lives and deepened ethnic, religious, and regional polarisation.
It urged civil society groups, the media, professional associations, socio-cultural groups, women, youth, students, and people living with disability to act in one accord as key catalysts for civic action.