Convoke national dialogue now, Anglican bishops tell Buhari

*Insist lack of dialogue responsible for multinational identity in Nigeria

**Oyegun says restructuring, true federalism will end national crises

By Ezeocha Nzeh and Daniel Tyokua

Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently convoke a national dialogue, comprising of all ethnic nationalities, to chart a way forward against insecurity and the myriad of problems confronting the country.

The clergymen in a communique issued after the 8th Synod of the church held in Akwaga, Diocese of Lafia, by Bishop Godwin Robinson, the bishops said such dialogue would provide needed opportunity for the agitating groups in the country to express their views and proffer solutions to end the spate of violence and misunderstanding in the country.

The Synod also called on the Federal Government to immediately decentralized the police to pave way for state police, and enjoined the National Assembly to carry out the necessary legislative backup without any further delay.

They argued that the problems facing Nigeria stems from government’s inability to properly manage Nigeria’s diverse ethnic and religious identities for a common national identity, to sustain the relationship between the centre and the federating units.

“The result of this is, basically regional governance vacuum and by reason of which some state actors are attempting to fill the space, leading to instability across the geographical zones, and the emergence of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, the bandits in the North-West, the criminal herdsmen in the North-Central, regional militia in the South-West, militants in the South-South and lately, secessionist agitators in the South-East,” the stated.

Insisting that “the country was going through perilous times”, they said “there is insecurity everywhere – on the roads, in the air, villages, cities are insecure even inside houses, and hamlets there is danger. Nowhere is safe.

“There is escalation of banditry, kidnapping, herders/farmers clashes and armed robbery here and there every day.

“This is because of the mutual distrusts among the ethnic nationalities leading to the emergence of the war lords: Boko Haram, IPOB, militants, almost taking control of the nation.

“The federal government and the National and State Assembly should see that the country is totally restructured for true federalism to emerge,” they insisted.

Although the bishops noted that every nation faces one form of challenge, at one time or the other, “that Nigeria today is having some challenges is not peculiar.

“Difficult times are being experienced by other Countries in different dimensions. There are no permanently fixed challenges.

“But a nation needs pro-active leadership who knows that yesterday’s solution cannot solve tomorrow’s problems.

“Nigeria today is in dire need of that dynamic leadership to take us out of the present mess,” the Synod stressed.

 *Oyegun says restructuring, true federalism will end national crises

 Meanwhile, elder statesman and a former national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the ruling party to quickly address the unending agitations for restructuring and true federalism.

The former Edo state governor, who spoke at the public presentation of a book, titled “APC’s Litmus Test”, written by the Director-General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF),  Alhaji Salihu Moh. Lukman, at the weekend in Abuja, maintained that the APC administration must not give the impression that only military governments can fundamentally tamper with the basic structures of the nation.

Oyegun warned that the numerous agitations must be expressly addressed to show the responsiveness of the APC government.

He noted that the APC under his leadership, had set up a True Federation Committee, headed by Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state, adding that the committee’s reports were detailed, and presented to the president for implementation.

 “That is the document on true federalism which the party put together that passed through all the organs of the party: the National Working Committee, the Caucus, the NEC, which is the highest organ of the party.

“Why did we do it at that time? We did it because like it is happening today, there was this cacophony of voices. Two people in the party could not agree on what they meant by restructuring.

“So, the party needed to take control of the debate, define the issues, proffer solutions and we went so far as to have some draft legislation.

“It is not by any chance a perfect document. But, it reflects then the thinking and the desires of the Nigerian people.

“Everybody kept quiet after we brought that document out, publicized it, held press conferences over it and most Nigerians were very, very happy.

“But once again, we did not make the kind of progress that we could have made and it has become once more, the topical subject in the Nigerian polity.”

He noted that the aftermath of the delay in implementing the recommendations, have led to “people now wanting to disengage from the federation, which is a warning signal.

“If a child ask for garri today, you don’t give him, tomorrow he may decide it is cake he wants and we must not as his political party, we must not as the government of the federation, give the impression that only military governments can fundamentally tamper with the basic structure of this nation.

“We are in charge today, a progressive government, a progressive regime, and I think it is proper that we show to the nation that when the people want some degree of change we should be responsive to it, we should address it.

“Compromises have to be made, there’s no question about that. The report itself is not final. It still has to go through the litmus test of compromises.

“It is vital that it is in fact, mandatory, in the interest of the survival of our nation, that these issues be addressed.

“We cannot continue to allow the subject to become something that threatens our nation at any turn.

“So, the earlier we address it, the earlier we show that as a party, we are responsive to the feelings of the people, the desires of the people and the wants of the people. It becomes easier then to diffuse the kind of stresses that the nation is passing through today. He said the delay in implementing state p have led to the setting up of several security outfits across the country.”

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