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Opinion: The proposals of a citizen delegate to the National Confab (Part 1)

by Kingsley Ahanonu


Thus, I speak forth because my thoughts reflect the genuine desire of these average Nigerians—the common desire for a politically proficient and an economically robust nation; a nation of hope and accomplishment; of talents and efficient utilization.

To start with and frankly speaking, I had wanted to be a part of the discussion in the on-going National Conference. I had wished to be nominated as a delegate. I had imagined being among the select few, who has being saddled with the onerous task of evolving a lasting framework for our further existence as a nation under God. These pining disenchantment had nothing to do with the financial packages to be given the delegates; and not in the delectation for which they would be treated to. The reason, above every other allurement, permeates these ephemeral.

Nonetheless, since I was never nominated and eventually, not participating as a delegate, in the National Conference—and going by the fact that I do have some salient inputs, which I feel would be immensely helpful to our nation and for which I do not wish to leave closeted, I make to write.

I wish to write having being nudged by the conviction that it would amount to an act of great disservice, not only to myself, but to this generation of Nigerians that have consistently expressed their avid desire for dramatic change and far-reaching national reformations, if, relying on my established nonappearance in the conference, I decline to take the salvaging step of stating the propositions that I feel are workable for our national redefinition.

Furthermore and more preponderantly, I found it expedient to write out of the understanding that the failure to do so would have amounted ordinarily to an emitted contribution, in not speaking out when the need is, to the collapse and monumental decrepit that had for long bedeviled this nation of great potentials and destinies.

Hence, even with a vented nostalgia contrived by my supposed sheer absence, I have resolved to make obvious my humble takes and paradigms for a national rebirth basically out of the spur for patriotism and burning national commitment. And in asserting, I assume holistically my status as a delegate conferred upon by the undeniable call for service to fatherland; a delegate of the Nigerian stable, whose interest, it is my responsibility and duty, always, to protect and defend. I consider myself a delegate in so far as I reflect the true Nigerian spirit first and foremost and stand to be counted in visibly contributing values essential for growth and sustenance.

My non-inclusion in the Justice Kutigi-led 492-member National Confab, notwithstanding—and having being convinced by the vocal voice in the realities of the demand to render appreciable contributions to motherland in the continuous dialogue demonstrated by the ever-growing populist craving for a national rebirth; of a conversation that would transcend its envisioned motives and eventual end, I speak as a delegate of the Nigerian value, of the Nigerian conscience and under this platform. Thanks to the media.

In speaking, I do so with a lucid recognition—of my being a representative of the Nigerian essence; an essence made discernible in the doggedness, the zealousness, and the fervid determination broached by the majority of its loyal and true citizenry. A populace, which is fairly manifested in the good numbers of its conscientious men and women, its ambitious youths and the large strains of its children, who continually remain the hope that sustains the pursuit and drive for a better and more virile nation.

Thus, I speak forth because my thoughts reflect the genuine desire of these average Nigerians—the common desire for a politically proficient and an economically robust nation; a nation of hope and accomplishment; of talents and efficient utilization.

‘The national questions’ In view of the above, I seek to add my voice to the ongoing deliberation geared towards realizing inputs and values needed in attaining national sustainability; and hope they find track into the road-map for a new beginning. And, in so doing, I would make to constrict the inherent discontents that have inundated the national space, and which I feel are the bases for the incessant disaffection and distrust that have long held sway, into what I regard as ‘the national questions’.

The recommendations I’d endeavour to proffer, would be abstractions of the suggestions, which I perceive are the apropos resolutions to the menace and rife that have trailed our existence and which immediate actions are due for the redefinition and straightening of the path to national fulfillment.

Consequently, the responses to these national questions are hopeful breakthrough for the tottering nation.

As such, the roots and premises of the outplaying scenarios of incompatibility and strained conviviality that have over-burdened this country and under which it has being riling and ambling in disorientation, are succinctly described in the following three national questions, which are by themselves correlated and hence their resolutions are also intertwined:

1. Question bothering on fear domination and incompatibility.

2. Question bothering on marginalization and economic discrimination.

3. Question bothering on failure to correlate and interact.

The above précis are [suggestively] the reverberating issues that have continued to find high-flying reasons as the plagues hounding this country. And in trying to find panacea to each, efforts would be made in treating them by piece-meal, whose cumulative outcome would then serve as my humble submission for a sustainable nationhood.


Our continuous inability, as a nation, to find a common front that would serve in fostering the necessary spirit of unity and integration we’ve always clamoured for; and of course, which has been conspicuously reflected in most of our national symbols—basically to inculcate into us the need for such, could be said to find debilitating anchorage on the seeming and rooted [ethnic] domination that has prevailed in all facets of the Nigerian state. It is pathetic; but the truth must not fail to be told—not in this confab.

This doleful impression is given credence by the dissensions that have stricken the existing ethnic nationalities; which of course, is more profound among those weaved together.

Nigeria, undoubtedly, is one nation with a multiplicity of ethnic backgrounds; and there is the growing discontentment and fear of subordination on the part of the minorities. They fear that the majority groups adopt dominance-status by virtue of the advantage placed on them by number. This is sordidly reflected mostly in settings wherein these major groups and the minorities are entangled together, as indigenes, into the same political construction.

The above practical scenario certainly necessitated the brewing of concerns of domination; the minority tribe feels cheated and awfully left out in the political developments of the setting it has been muddled up with the bigger and dominant neighbour. And this, we know, shall continue without possible decline because there’s virtually no front for cultural homogeneity and camaraderie; more, so when democratic principle that focuses on majority rule wears more emphasis with each passing leap of global awareness.

Hence, we cannot overrule the discomfort, the heat of disconcertion faced by each of the ethnic minorities that had become subsumed with the stifling emphatic groups in the existing national structure. We could not justifiably chide down their concerns and vented paranoid and assume that the structure is suitable. We cannot continue to harp on the need for sustainable integration and unity while the bedrock of the flaming disconnect is disregarded. It would be a ‘known deception’. To find a way out of this conundrum that has assumed recrudescence, we must attempt to nip the underlying base(s).

Therefore, to achieve our desired goal of a nation treasuring its elemental diversities and still basking in profound unity of purpose, we must unravel the root with the aim of putting the shammed and often neglected design straight. A way must be devised to unshackle, so to say, these hapless and vulnerable minorities from the clamp of their ethnic ‘overlords’ and provide them with the freedoms to pursue self-determination; one when denied them, keeps them enmeshed in the sentimental web of detachment. When this exists, there is unbelief and distrust in the system, which they view as mere siege—of which they owe no commitment.

This problem can conscientiously be resolved when such groups are availed with the necessary clamour, which every individual yearns; the freedom for attainment of distinct potentials in line with their peculiarities. They do not need their desires and wishes to be stifled by the influential majority, which they are, without question, bound to be subjected to their overwhelming wishes.

Also, we know, a genuine response to national call is not achieved in such state of defeated and overshadowed ambition, where the views of the minority are drawn into obscurity by the majority. As such, it becomes appropriate to provide them with the platform to make true contributions.

In providing them with an avenue for self-actualization, we free them from the shackles they are so caged in, hence their [paranoiac] of domination and afford a sense of belonging. This feeling of expressivity and unhindered pursuit that facilitate inter-ethnic collaboration are basically what they need to evince satisfaction and thereby submit eagerly to the call for unity.

And how could this be achieved within the framework of our national space; considering its size? We can painstakingly devise the means to adopt a true federal system of government that is proved in the partitioning of the country into different regional structures on the bases of the shared values the constituent parts may have. When these regions are achieved, we could then go on to have subdivisions within each regions based on the ethnic variations.

In essence, to sound unequivocal, I recommend for the establishment of sub-regional structures based on ethnic autonomy; where people with similar culture, language, tradition and understanding can govern themselves their own way and find a convenient means to channel their true common obligations in response to national call. This would have settled the question on unity and integration—as each ethnic set acting freely, would in genuineness, yield to national integration.

Thus, I advocate for the establishment of a national structure that takes into cognizance the need for ethnic autonomy; as these answer the question of domination and foster the unity and commitment that have seemed elusive.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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