Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
The Pro National Conference Organisation, (PRONACO) Monday said it would mobilise the civil society nationwide against the Federal Government centenary plan if the celebration is not urgently reviewed and replaced with a process of popular renewal of the Nigerian union.
In a state of the nation address in Abuja, PRONACO spokesperson, Olawale Okunniyi carpeted the centenary celebration programme rolled out by the Federal Government for lacking depth and substance for the reality and needs of the country.
He warned every credible civil society actor and platform in the country to steer clear of the "wrong headed and wasteful jamboree" in their own interest.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, was quoted as saying last week that the celebration which was scheduled to run from February 4, 2013 to January 1, 2014 would afford the government opportunity to put in place legacy projects including the erection of the new Abuja City Gate, Abuja Centenary City, which was to attract an investment totalling $15billion from private investors and generating over 15,000 jobs, directly and indirectly as well as unity squares in every state capital and medical diagnostic centres, one in each geo-political zone of the country.
But the coalition of civil society groups described government’s plan as wasteful and lousy that can only show case what he tagged Nigeria's unfortunate story, “false unity and non-existent well being of Nigerians at a very critical and trying moment in the nation’s life, when Nigerians are dying in their hundreds on a daily basis due to violent ethno religious reactions to the corrupt leadership and exploitative structure of the country.”
Okunniyi said instead of the organisers of the ‘centenary jamboree’ to think of how to enrich themselves during the historic occasion, the Nigerian government should rather facilitate a solemn process of renegotiation by a Constituent Assembly to effectively fashion national consensus and collective ownership of the renewal of a united and stable Nigeria beyond 2014.
He, however, hinted that consultation was already on among civil society forces on how to effectively check another round of wastage and pilfering by government "as it will be dangerous and unimaginative for the sitting government to embark on a spree of personal enrichment and wild celebration of falsehood and self-delusion like the days of the biblical Noah only to be suddenly confronted with the reality of the expiration of Nigeria’s amalgamation and precipitate struggle for secession."
According to him, “The implication of the present wrong footing on Nigeria’s centenary by the government will mean that the basis of our current unity and the subsisting Federal Government will become legally void so that any of the original federating components of Nigeria can be morally leveraged to opt out of the foisted amalgamation by colonial Britain to last for 1000 years.
All that will be necessary for the component parts of Nigeria to legitimately secede from the union will be to formally approach the United Nations for official recognition. In the same manner the sovereignty of Nigeria will automatically become questionable and vulnerable to external aggression at the expiration of the terms of the Nigerian union in 2014, if the various constituent areas of Nigeria are not allowed to re-engineer and own a new political agreement on the unity and continuity of Nigeria as one country,” PRONACO counseled
Okunniyi, however, cautioned that "the only way to sustain the unity and stability of Nigeria beyond 2014, given the dawning reality of the expiration of Nigeria’s union, as well as the ongoing internal and external aggression against the Nigerian state, is for government to urgently jettison its planned ‘centenary jamboree’ and rally the peoples of Nigeria into a more impactful political negotiation to renew the continued existence of Nigeria as one country through the constituent assembly of Nigeria."