• NADECO urges president to convene ethnic nationalities conference
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Esther Oluku in Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the Presidential Villa, signed the Public Holidays Act Amendment Bill into law.
This is as the chieftains of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) urged the president to convene an ethnic nationalities conference on the way forward for Nigeria.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, disclosed this to State House correspondents in Abuja.
Enang said that the Act declared June 12 of every year as public holiday and Democracy Day in Nigeria.
“It amends the Public Holidays Act which now removes May 29 of every year as a public holiday and now makes it June 12, democracy as a public holiday in Nigeria henceforth.
“By this Act, May 29 is no more a Public Holiday,’’ he said.
Buhari had on June 6, 2018, declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day in commemoration of the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993.
The Federal Government had earlier on Monday declared June 12, as a public holiday, to commemorate the nation’s National Democracy Day.
Meanwhile, NADECO yesterday urged President Buhari to convene an ethnic nationalities conference on the way forward for Nigeria.
The chieftains, including former Governor of Lagos State, Chief Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Amos Akingba and Chief Ayo Opadokun, made the call while addressing journalists in Lagos.
Opadokun, who read the text of the briefing, entitled: “NADECO, June 12 and the State of the Nation,” said such assembly should be made up of leaders of ethnic groups elected through their cultural modalities of choosing representation, and not government nominees.
“The Nigerian state should accept that Nigeria’s prospect to genuine unity, growth and development can only be a reality if it respects the popular will being expressed by majority of Nigerians that our country should return to Federal constitutional arrangement.
“This demand is proven by the fact that until the unfortunate military insurrection against democratic government on January 15, 1966, federal and the regional governments were relatively productive and responding creditably to the genuine wishes and aspirations of their peoples.
“Restoration to federalism should not be based on partisan predilection.
“Centralisation of the vital public sectors by various decrees and the appropriations to the central government of all the regional major means of raising resources have crippled the component units since then.
“Most states now depend on the monthly allocations to run their overbloated bureaucracies.
“Nigeria should stop living a lie by calling itself a federation when it is in fact governed centrally under unitarism,” he said.
Opadokun said that the 1960 Independence Constitution, upon which Nigeria secured its independence based on several negotiations, should be the working paper for the consideration, discussion and resolution of the representative assembly, mainly of ethnic nationalities which are the building blocks upon which Nigeria is constructed.
He said NADECO believed that by restoring the concurrent list of items of the 1960 independence constitution back to the states along with the concomitant resources to execute those responsibilities, genuine development could be better pursued throughout Nigeria.
The NADECO chieftain also called on the government to halt the spate of kidnapping, cattle rustling and herders/farmers conflicts in the country.
Opadokun urged the Nigerian state to formally inaugurate posthumously, Bashorun MKO Abiola as a President of Nigeria and name a national monument of consequence after him.