Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The pro-democracy group, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), has said it would collaborate with the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS) to hold a conference in Washington, D.C., United States to discuss the future of Nigeria considering the series of separatist agitations in the country.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, contact persons for NADECO and ISDS, Comrade Uyi Meshack and Dr. Melford Miller, said the organisations were concerned that the democracy which they fought for was being destroyed by the current leadership in the country.
They said NADECO was worried by the agitations from the South-east, South-west and South-south for restructuring or disintegration of the country.
They said: â€œNADECO was established in 1994 in opposition to military dictatorship. In 1994, after the June 12, 1993 crisis, Nigeria faced a serious political crossroads. NADECO rose to the occasion and fought tirelessly to usher in the democratic dispensation that Nigerians have today.
â€œToday, 23 years later, Nigeria is at another political crossroads. Again, NADECO is rising to the occasion. Unlike 1994 when NADECOâ€™s mission was prodemocracy, its current mission is to facilitate good governance and economic development of Nigeriaâ€™s political dispensation consistent with international practice and self-determination and decolonisation resolutions of the United Nations.
On whether the proposed conference has the blessings of the founding fathers of NADECO, Meshak, who read the statement, said the founding fathers of the organisation were fully involved in the conference and that the press briefing was holding simultaneously in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
He also said politicians across the political divide had agreed to participate in the conference which is designed to address the future of the country.
â€œA consensus seems to have emerged among the political titans that Nigeria urgently needs a wholesale review to prevent any political faction from oppression or persecution, and, that the review must take place outside Nigeriaâ€™s governing institutions which have vested interest in maintaining the corrupt and dictatorial status quo. In the light of the on-going convulsions and strife in Nigeria, we have agreed that a Nigerian conference held in Washington D.C. would be necessary to insure the necessary candour and safety among the participants,â€ he said.
He noted that Nigeria is being currently governed by a constitution decreed by a military dictatorship that has long outlasted its usefulness, adding that the current efforts by the National Assembly were half-measures that would not address the fundamental issues facing the nation
â€œNigerians desperately need a new birth of freedom. The Nigerian conference is where it will begin,â€ he said.