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THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE: A CONFERENCE OF VESTED INTERESTS AND THE CORRUPT POLITICAL CLASS, PAST AND PRESENT

February 1, 2014

On Thursday 30th January 2014, the Federal Government announced to Nigerians through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the commencement of the National Dialogue and its composition. In releasing the modalities in Abuja, the SFG said that 492 delegates are expected to be nominated between 30th of January to 20th of February, 2014.

Senator Anyim highlighted on those entitled to nominate the 492 delegates, which would include the President, states and local governments, traditional rulers, political parties, retired civil servants, organized private sector, selected associations and professional bodies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the relevant field. He went further to state that the National Confab is entitled to discuss all subject matter except divisibility and dissolubility of Nigeria as a nation.

After a very care examination of the modalities for the nomination of delegates, one cannot but come to the conclusion that the national dialogue is a farce, another political jamboree and a gathering of vested interests and the corrupt political class, past and present.

In a recent public outing, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi presented a paper captioned: HOW VESTED INTERESTS ARE KILLING NIGERIA. In describing the failures of present and past leadership in the Nigeria, he said, “Nigeria is a country that specializes in exporting what it does not produce and importing that which it produces. One of the world’s largest producers of crude oil that does not refine its own petroleum products and has to import petroleum products. The world’s largest producer of cassava but does not produce starch or ethanol. A large tomato belt, yet the world’s largest importer of tomato paste. A country that from my childhood I have heard, had the potentials for being a world power, but every day we talk about potentials! Every day we talk about potentials! Today we still talk about the potentials of Nigeria. And yet China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Brazil… all of those countries have turned the potential that they had into reality.” So why should all those who have been part of that failure, be those in majority in the national dialogue? In attempting to proffer solutions, Sanusi touched on the role to be played by the youths and the younger generation by stating that, “….we have 65 million young people in Nigeria, I’ll give you one idea. You have 65 million youth in Nigeria, what does it take for one of you to get your votes be the president of this country? What does it take for you to say you’re tired of my generation? I’m going to get one 40-year-old intelligent, committed, patriotic Nigerian and we are going to ask all the youth to vote for him. What does it take for you to address this issue sector by sector? Identify these interests one by one and confront them. Why does it have to take fuel subsidy removal for us to come out and challenge the rot that is in our country? What are we afraid of? We are afraid of losing the security that we have today. We may not lose it today, we will lose it tomorrow. So there is one thing I have, one message I have for every Nigerian: is to remember that the problems of this country are enormous, the solution is simple and that solution is we must overcome.” Why then are the youths and ‘future leaders’ grossly outnumbered in the national dialogue delegates list by those with vested interests in keeping the status quo, because it benefits them.?

Of the total 492 delegates to attend the national dialogue, 242 delegates, from the modalities of nominating delegates as presented below, fall into the category of vested interests and the corrupt political class, past and present. This amounts to total control of the process from the powers that be. We could as well rename the national dialogue as, “A CONFERENCE OF VESTED INTERESTS AND THE CORRUPT POLITICAL CLASS”. The skewness of the delegates list in favour of vested interests can be seen below:

1. Elder Statesmen: One per state and the FCT making a total of 37 will be nominated by the President. – 37 DELEGATES
2. Retired Military and Security Personnel which include one delegate per geopolitical zone each from the Military, Police, State Security and National Intelligence Agency – making it a total of 18 delegates to be nominated by stakeholders. – 18 DELEGATES
3. Retired Civil Servants: one per zone. A total of six to be nominated by stakeholders. – 6 DELEGATES
4. Nigeria Youth Organisations: Federal Government shall nominate six delegates, one from each geo-political zone for “other” (Outstanding Youths and Role Models). – 6 DELEGATES
5. Political Parties: parties that have representation in the National Assembly, including the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressives Congress, APC, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Accord Party, Labour Party, LP, shall each nominate two delegates making it 10 delegates. – 10 DELEGATES
6. The President shall nominate six persons not currently serving on the bench from the Judiciary. – 6 DELEGATES
7. Former Political Office Holders including former governors, Senators Forum, House of Reps Forum and the Association of Former Speakers shall each nominate one delegate per geo-political zone making it a total of 24 delegates. – 24 DELEGATES
8. The Federal Government of Nigeria shall nominate 20 delegates of which at least six will be women. – 20 DELEGATES
9. The state governments shall each nominate 3 delegates while the FCT shall nominate 1 delegate based on Senatorial District at least one of whom shall be a woman. The nomination shall be done by the state governors and where the state fails to nominate, the President shall nominate the required number from the state. – 109 DELEGATES
10. The ALGON shall nominate one Former Local Government Chairman each from the six geo- political zones. – 6 DELEGATES
11. The President shall nominate the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary, observing geo-political

The only way the Federal Government can prove to Nigerians, 70% of whom live below the poverty line of $2 or less per day, that the national dialogue is aimed at addressing the numerous problems we face as a country, is to skew the delegates list in favour of Labour Representatives; Organised Private Sector; Nigerian Youth Organisations, Women Groups; Civil Society Organisations; Socio-Political/Cultural and Ethnic Nationality Groups; Professional Bodies; National Academia; and Nigerians in Diaspora, the segments which represent the majority of Nigerians; as against the current list which can be termed a delegates list of vested interests, those who have killed and are still killing Nigeria for their greedy and selfish ends.
Corruption - Nigeria

Corruption - Nigeria2

Corruption - Nigeria1

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