Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
COMMUNIQUE OF A THREE DAY CIVIL SOCIETY MEETING ON ADVOCACY STRATEGIES TO ENGAGE THE NATIONAL POLITICAL REFORMS CONFERENCE (NPRC) WHICH TOOK PLACE AT TRAPPCO RESORT, KADUNA BETWEEN 21ST AND 23RD OF APRIL 2005.
As part of the civil society engagement with the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) Abuja, Global Rights: Partners for Justice in conjunction with ActionAid International Nigeria convened a meeting on civil society advocacy strategies in engaging the NPRC from April 21st to 23rd 2005.
Participants at the conference observed that:
· In Nigeria, citizenship is expressed at two levels, the National as well as State. The key problem over citizenship has to do with how citizenship is interpreted to mean indigeneship, and indigeneity is the basis of claiming privileges.
· Married women are often denied state citizenship when indigeneity of their husbands is different from that of their fathers.
· Indigeneship status defined by membership of a local ethnic community is the basis of inclusion or exclusion. Those who are excluded are defined as settlers and hence cannot enjoy certain rights and privileges. The contestation between “indigenes” and “settlers” often result in violent communal conflicts.
· Despite the fact that women have been excluded or marginalised in the Political and Public spheres, there have been no commitments to implement the principle of Affirmative Action to redress the situation in Nigeria.
· There is increasing social and economic hardships arising from the harsh policies of successive governments towards the poor and weak citizens of Nigeria.
· Federalism is skewed in a direction that tilts towards unitary system of government.
After deliberations, participants recommended as follows:
· The Flaws and defects in Nigeria’s federal system which do not conduce to the effective management of diversity should be addressed. The flaws arise from over-centralization of power and resources, and the erosion of autonomy for the constituent units, which consequently accounts for the protracted ethno-religious and political conflicts since the return to democratic governance.
· Citizenship at the State level should be defined by residence and not by indigeneity.
· There should be new constitutional provisions on the equality of the sexes and Affirmative Action for women.
· Political Parties should adopt and use a clear policy of quota in the nomination of women politicians within political parties.
· That the process and procedure for the appointment and removal of judges of the State High Courts must be reviewed to guarantee quality, independence, tenure and transparency.
· That the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and that of the Attorney Generals of states should be depoliticized while the Minister of Justice and Commissioner of Justice can respond to political issues arising from governance.
· There should be a review of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement mechanism in such a way that those whose rights are violated do not have to seek leave of the courts, among others.
· The Proportional Representation (PR) system should be adopted as part of the reform of the electoral process. One way to accomplish this is to ensure that the political parties generate a list of candidates that are ranked according to their importance and voters make choices on the basis of the candidates listed by the party.
· Each Political Party should have a threshold of 25% for any contested seat.
· The Nigerian economy and state policy should be redirected in such a way that makes the state socially-sensitive to the basic needs of the people such as education, health and shelter.
Members of the NPRC should be patriotic and have a sense of history to ensure that the deliberations and resolutions of the conference reflect the true wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people. The NPRC should endeavour to respect our democratic institutions and act in accordance with due process and the rule of law.
The report of the various committees as well the outcome of the conference should be made public so that the Nigerian people can have access to them and make input into the final recommendations.
Sam Egwu, Citizens’ Forum for Constitutional Reform (CFCR)
Festus Okoye, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)
Jide Ojo, Electoral Reform Network (ERN)
Abiola Akiode, Women’s Organization for a Representative National
Chairmaine Pereira, Network for Women’s Studies in Nigeria (NWSN)
Abubakar Momoh, Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA).
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.