Although efforts to talk to the source of this Communiqué failed, its authenticity is most likely to be guaranteed. The Communiqué came to Intervention from a very credible source. Unless it is denied, it marks the most significant elite re-alignment in favour of remaking rather than dismembering Nigeria. Not only are elite platforms from the different regional groupings represented, the communiqué is talking of pulling Nigeria from the brink, suggesting imperative of a consensus. There is a sign of acceptance of the need and possibility of correcting the signifying practices by which the Buhari administration has alarmed both the elite and other strata of the society.
The communiqué below may not be fully understood outside of a similar development last Wednesday when the North Central People’s Forum, (NCPF) emerged, declaring a categorical commitment to rapid industrialisation of the Middle Belt but in the context of one indivisible Nigeria. That was a turning-point statement in the context of no other ethno-regional platform making such its commitment.
Some observers have completely misread the NCPF as the accumulative instincts and class behaviour of each and every one of the NCPF platform has no stomach for rebellion. The platform in question can thus only be understood in the context of re-alignment that isolates President Buhari whose approach to governance has sent signals considered frightening to even members of his own class about the survival of the nation.
Hence the inference to read the emerging trend in terms of elite rethinking of the current crisis and considered new ways of resolving it. The inclusive nature of this particular Communiqué as well as the Obasanjo factor makes it a powerful signifier or evidence of consensus at last. The communiqué is published unedited below:
Communiqué of the Consultative Dialogue of Nigeria’s Socio-Cultural Political Organisations on the State of the Nation
A Consultative Dialogue involving the following organisations was convened on 9 and 10 September to deliberate on the state of the nation and critical challenges facing Nigeria.
- Middle Belt Forum
III. Northern Elders’ Forum
- Ohaneze Ndigbo
- Pan Niger Delta Forum
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum; Chairman, APC Governors Forum and Chairman, PDP Governors Forum were briefed.
- The Consultative Dialogue was convened and facilitated by His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria following fairly extensive consultations, and support and encouragement received from elder statesmen, traditional, religious, political and business leaders across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
- The meeting noted the grave dangers Nigeria is facing especially in the areas of deterioration of governance, the economy, security, political intolerance, worsening social and inter-communal cohesion, poor performance of democratic and electoral structures, declining faith in leadership and those charged with leadership at all levels which have combined to push our beloved country to the brink. The meeting identified the primacy of pulling Nigeria back from the brink and resolved to deploy their individual and collective efforts to achieve that objective.
- The participating organisations commit to support and involve themselves in all activities targeted at improving the Nigerian constitution for the purpose of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of all Nigerian citizens.
- Participants further resolved to mobilise Nigerians to support and work towards improving understanding and fraternal relations among all groups constituting Nigeria.
- The meeting further committed itself to work with other organisations, groups and governmental organs at all levels to improve the quality of governance and the democratic and electoral processes as well as on all matters that can positively impact and improve the economic wellbeing of the Nigerian citizen.
- The meeting agreed to set up Panels of Experts to discuss, address and make recommendations on the following subjects:
- a) Nigeria’s federal structure and devolution of power, responsibilities and resources.
- b) Security
- c) Electoral reforms and ensuring the integrity and credibility of elections
- d) Local Governments autonomy and effective administration
- e) The economy and fiscal federalism
- f) Judicial reforms
- g) Other matters central to the survival of Nigeria
- The participants resolved to commit themselves to the implementation of agreed reforms and recommendations arising out of this initiative in the speediest and most acceptable process.
Ambassador Ahmed Magaji
For the Convener