Right from when I've come of age, I've heard and am still hearing reasons why we need a sovereign national conference and on the other hand, reasons why the sovereign national conference should not be.
On the 1st of October,2013, the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan announced that an advisory committee was to be inagurated to establish modalities for the sovereign national conference and he gave them six weeks to carry out their assignment.
Many are asking, what is a sovereign national conference? A sovereign national conference is a forum of representatives of the various ethnic nationalities, regions, states, interest groups, etc where issues affecting the Nigerian state are to be addressed and to determine the extent of our continued unity.
Why a sovereign national conference?
It is a well known fact that the federation of Nigeria has never really been one homogeneous country for it has widely differing people and tribes. The amalgamation of the Nothern and Southern protectorates in 1914 was done by the colonial masters for administrative conveniencies and to effectively control her vital resources for their economic interests.
Our constitutional arrangement since 1914 to date(2013) has never truly reflected the political, economic, social, cultural and religious realities of the country. The people of the country have never had the opportunity to make inputs into, accept or reject any constitutional framework through a referendum.
Those agitating for a sovereign national conference argue that there are so many grieviances and accusations against Nigeria and by Nigerians which the SNC must consider and resolve with the sole objective of designing a new constitution for the country which will cast into extinction all the evil tendencies which have conspired to make Nigeria a virtual ghost country, deeply and invidiously polarised in all directions since 1914 to date and more seriously since January 15 1966.
On the other side of the divide are those against the convocation of a SNC on the grounds that a SNC is only held in a situation where a country is under military rule and where the military is planning to relinquish power to a democratically elected government, also in that vein, they argue that the calls for a SNC is in the simplest meaning mischievous and a vote of no confidence in and an open declaration of war against all democratically elected institutions in Nigeria ie it is an open contempt of our legislative institutions.
In my opinion, the SNC is not to govern the country but to find solutions to all the problems that afflict the polity. At this juncture, the SNC needs to be convoked so thatthe mistakes we made in 1966 by not standing on Aburi will not be repeated.
What do you think?