Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
As the build-up to the activities leading to the conduct of next general election in the country in 2019 gradually picks up, a socio-political group, Revive Nigeria, has said it will spearhead the drive for a new political system that can transform the people positively.
Among the things the Revive Nigeria Group (RNG) hopes to achieve is to strive to promote a united Nigeria where social justice and fairness would supersede individual interests.
The group, which prides itself as a platform of citizens of Nigeria, comprising professionals, students, womenâ€™s association, academia and artisans, said it would as part of its engagement towards reshaping the political environment embark on voter education and public enlightenment to improve citizens participation in governance.
Speaking during the formal launch of the initiative in Abuja thursday, the Chairperson of the group, Aisha Umar, said one of the most critical issues troubling the nation today is identity crisis.
She also said the country as of today is battling with hydra-headed problem of disunity which has impacted negatively on the effort to drive development process.
On the reasons why her group did not float a political party in order to seek support of Nigerians to actualise their vision, Umar said they found the operating political system highly defective and not encouraging enough to engage in party politics.
â€œWhen we went for our retreat, we actually looked at the possibility of forming a political party but what we discovered was that the environment was not right. We felt that before we can come with the kind of political party that we wanted that we have to do something about changing the environment. So because of that we decided to us just try and understand the underlying problems,â€ she said.
Umar said rather than forming a party, RNG believes it would be better to work in partnership with other like-minded Nigerians and development partners to bring about total reform of the political system before eventually joking active politics.
â€œOne of the problems we identified was that of lack of national identity. The fact that we donâ€™t have a national identity, national unity means that political party canâ€™t work well in the country. So we concluded that the situation has affected the political environment and that makes it defective. So we felt that there is no point floating a political party if means operating in this environment.
â€œSo our focus right now is to try and change the environment to make it more conducive for our people to operate in,â€ Umar said.
She said what the group is concentrating on achieving right now is to pursue the cause of a new national identity, unity, youth development and gender equality.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the groupâ€™s subcommittee on Good Governance. Frank Nweke Jnr, said the aim of the initiative is to try and reshape the way issues of politics and development have been handled in the country.
He said the groupâ€™s strategy would be to engage Nigerians in and out of the country
â€œno matter the political party you belong to, no matter the political aspirations you have, everyone has one view to ensure the progress of the country, security of lives and the wellbeing of the people within a given state, and we believe that these goals can be achieved through appropriate youth participation and trying to enlighten people to demand good governance, to become more conscious and aware of the role that we have played in the attainment of good governance in our country.
â€˜We believe that this can be achieved through the the development of a nationalistic re-orientation. The fact that we have one nation, one destiny and that all us have a responsibility to build a nation of our dreams, we believe that we can do this through voter education and sensitisation.
â€œWe need to document promises made by parties during the electioneering and to hold them accountable to fulfill them when they are elected into office. We also need to consider very seriously candidateâ€™s appraisal and endorsements.
Nweke who is a former Minister of Information and Culture, said part of the groupâ€™s plan is to help the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the voters and the media as well as making them to be aware of some evil machinations of dubious politicians.
He said the Nigerian electorate must begin to imbibe the culture of participating in the electoral process by going out to vote and staying back at the polling units to protect their votes.