The governors of the 17 southern states in Nigeria after meeting held on Tuesday in Asaba, Delta State, called on the federal government to convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency and the challenges of insecurity, among others. Though, the call for Confab is not the first time in the country; here is what Nigerians feel about the latest call.
Bright Ogbemudia, 73, businessman, Port Harcourt-based
I will only support the convocation of a national conference if the final resolutions reached will be implemented. The position of the southern governors on the convocation of the National Conference is good and I am in full support of it. Such conference will address so many problems the country is facing such as insecurity, restructuring and governance in all ramifications.
Esther Michael, 29, Teacher, Abuja
The meeting of the southern governors is a welcome development because they try to put Nigeria first before party politics but another National dialogue is a waste of resources and time. We have the 2014 document in which Nigerians have spoken their minds; what we need is the political will to act on those agreement that have been reached, in fact all the points by the governor are all taking care of in the 2014 report, so let us implement that and not waste money on another confab.
Emeh Friday Elejo, 43, National Coordinator Nigeria Civil Society Desk, Jos
I am in support of the position of the Southern Governors’ Forum and call for immediate response of the president. In a country where the lives of the citizens and properties can no longer be protected by the government, the citizens will result to self-defense. So I call for the National Conference where all these impending danger will be discussed and resolved.
We don’t want to say that this is a failed government yet, but we are waiting for the response of the government and president in order to decide on this ugly trend in this country. Nigeria must be peaceful.
Cencus Nwanukposi, Businessman, Port Harcourt
Cencus Ben Nwanukposi, Any line of action towards ensuring an end to the security and economic menace we currently have in Nigeria is a welcome development. However, I do not believe that a call for national conference alone is enough. Nigeria is not lacking in on policy direction and good governance document, but her major issue is on implementation. The Jonathan’s administration organised a confab in 2014 that yielded so much talks on the way forward but zero implementation. Those who are students of Nigerian history know that the major issue with our polity is the inability of leaders on all fronts to speak truth to power. Most shy away from discussing burning national issues on religious ground or due to ethnic affiliation to those in power. So in my opinion, if there should be a discourse on the way forward from these crises we find ourselves, we should focus on constitutional amendment, strengthening our institutions to create checks and balances and as citizens become more vigilant so as to avoid putting in individuals with little or nothing to offer as leaders.
Haruna Yusuf Abba, 25, Politician, Jos
In an ideal democratic setting, roundtable discussion is always sacrosanct to deliberate and brainstorm on ideas and opinions that will bring about progress. This is because no man is an island or would know everything. National/domestic conferences, town hall meetings, etc to discuss challenges of a people/nation are good tenets of democracy, because it’s the top bottom approach which assesses the leaders’ performance and give the citizens voice in other to participate in decision making. So, this idea of national conference is long overdue, and it should have been part of our constitution for it to be done from time to time.
Douglas Francis 40, Media Practitioner, Jos
There is nothing bad about the suggestion to hold a national confab. But the question still remains that to what extent will that better the lives of the common man. The nation has never been short of confab/national conferences, workshops, technical committees, etc in order to proffer solutions to the nation’s problems. Despite all that, the problems kept increasing. So the truth is that what we now require is implementation and action. Nonetheless, the various segments of the nation need to come together and discuss in order to find a solution to our problem. This is because, what is happening today in the land is unthinkable, and the innocent masses keep suffering the consequences. The country has equally being divided along ethno-religious lines and the insecurity in the nation has led to loss of lives and properties.
Chris Ugokwe, 50, Civil servant, Akwa
I don’t think national conference will be of use at this time. What we need is urgent action to address the challenges the country is facing now. By the time you call for national conference, it will take a year to do and there is no time now in this country to waste. It is total waste of time and resources to have national conference. Let national assembly look into the constitution and do the needful. The conference we had in the past what happened to them? Have they been implemented? We had one under Abacha; we had another under Abdulsalam and also under Jonathan. The outcomes of these conferences were not implemented and why do we want another one? The answer for another conference is no. What the governors should be calling now is for urgent solutions to our problems I wish the federal government should wake up to its responsibility. National Conference is not solution to our problem now but how government will urgently address the economic and security challenges in the country. The governors are being economical with the truth; they should have demanded for urgent action to the security challenges in the country. If you said national conference, who and who will be there? How do we elect members? And that will be another problem for the country because people will be lobbying to be there to collect their shares. In fact, it is diversionary tactics and the problem in the country is getting out hand.
Okey Onuegbu, 38, Postgraduate student, Akwa
The national conference is of no use to Nigerians now. The stand of the governors is nothing to be taken serious because there was a national conference held under Jonathan and nothing came out of it. How can we allow president Buhari to convoke national conference when he is going out soon; he will not implement it. He will still ask Nigerians to wait, in fact we don’t need that; they know the problems of Nigeria and should act on it. Our constitution is there; they should amend it and follow it religiously. We don’t need to be wasting our money on things that we know it’s not going to work. I don’t think national conference will be of any help to this country now because the outcome will not be implemented.
Sharon Godwin, 30, Entrepreneur, Port Harcourt
Convocation of a national conference is a step towards addressing the myriads of problems that Nigeria is facing. In 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration organized a national conference where lots of decisions were taken and resolutions passed but none of them was implemented. To convoke a national conference is good but the most important thing is the implementation of the decisions reached at the conference. If the decisions reached will be implemented I am in support of it.
Dashap Sandra, 30, Civil Servant, Abuja
The governors’ call for confab is a progressive move but it’s not advisable for now, going by the level insecurity ravaging the country. We do not need another confab instead, they should implement the report of the previous one which covers all the challenges we are facing now and government should provide an ICT innovation/ security gadgets to help detect any security threat and bridge the gap of security intelligence that exists between the people and security agencies. Also security education should be included in school curriculums to create security awareness amongst students.