PRONACO Begins Mini-conference March 23
March 9, 2005 | posted by Nigerian Muse (Archives)


 This Day


PRONACO Begins Mini-conference March 23

By Ndubuisi Ugah, 03.09.2005



Chief Anthony Enohoro-led Pro-National Conference Organisations (PRONACO) yesterday said plans were already at an advanced stage for the commencement of a mini conferences of various constituent units to be represented at Peoples National Conference (PNC) scheduled to be inagurated later in June.

The consultative process, which is expected to begin immediately after the Conference Planning Commission (CPC) meeting scheduled to hold between March 23 and 29, is part of the processes through which PRONACO intends  to actualise its set objectives.

Speaking with THISDAY yesterday, PRONACO Director, Media and Publicity, Wale Okunniyi, said "the essence of the mock or mini conferences and consultation processes of various nationalities and civil society interests to be represented at PNC, is to enhance a people’s driven and a process led  conference, where popular agenda and delegates of the participating constituencies will crystalise  for the benefit of the country."

He stated that the consultative process "is opposed to the current whimsical and rushed process of Federal Government's National Political Reforms Conference (NPRC), which negates thorough, democratic, profound and inclusive processes."

According to him, "a period of four or five weeks is to be allotted for this very crucial and fundamental exercise after which, proceedings of such conferences and consultative fora, are expected to get to PRONACO secretariat as memo to PNC from constituents units on their position on agenda and delegates."


Okunniyi added that "position papers and memoes are expected to be made public for comment and debate by the various constituent units before the inauguration of PNC in June. This will help enrich the issues and quality of delegates to the conference."

Apparently reacting to the various insinuations and remarks over the non-participation of PRONACO's leaders such as Enahoro and Professor Wole Soyinka, Okunniyi said such clamours were unwarranted, given the level of preperations, which PRONACO has made as regards the convocation of a PNC.

"However, the thinking in PRONACO with the revelation at NPRC is that the continued clamour by some delegates for the participation of the leaders of PRONACO, that is, Chief Anthony Enahoro and Professor Wole Soyinka at NPRC is unnecessary and misguided," he said.

He maintained "that given the reality of NPRC, the resolution of NPRC should  be taken at PNC as representing the outcome of the mini conference of government representatives and interests, since PNC is about the inclusion of every interest and sector in the Nigerian union."

He also hinted that "the Chairman of NPRC, Justice Niki Tobi, will be invited to present the report of NPRC to the representatives of the people at PNC."

"Government through NPRC would, therefore, be given an opportunity to make its case at PNC. This will make PNC all-inclusive of all shades of opinion in the society, including the private sector and security sector.

"Government via the executive, legislature and judiciary would have been represented at PNC through the leadership of NPRC," he stressed.  

He however stated that "an appeal fund will soon be launched so that those who want to support this people’s process can now pay cheques into PRONACO account at the National Bank, while those who want to donate cash can do so through the leadership and secretariat of PRONACO, as this may be the last opportunity for Nigerians to determine their destiny, PRONACO is for a new democratic and prosperous union."







January 13, 2005


Enahoro, 42 groups begin mock national confab
By Clifford Ndujihe and Kufre Okon


IN its determined effort to ensure a better nation, the Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro-led Pro-National Conference Organisations (PRONACO) yesterday in Lagos began a two-day meeting.


The parley is a prelude to the convocation of a national conference by the group, ahead of the Federal Government planned national dialogue.


Chaired by Enahoro, the meeting, which ends today, will come up with resolutions on the structure, composition, agenda and time-table for the national conference.


At a pre-meeting press conference, leaders of PRONACO assured that much as there would be no "no go areas" at the proposed national conference, it would not lead to the disintegration of the country.


"Although there are those who have posited that a national conference might balkanise the country or begin such a process, let me emphasis that this meeting is expected to go through deliberations to set the necessary rules and modalities for the conduct of the conference we desire. That conference would result in a more cohesive Nigeria where indeed, every Nigerian ethnic group is comfortable and free from oppression imposed by a wrongly structured system," said Mr. Edet Uno, the chairman of the planning committee.


The leaders said they were "pushed" to organise the conference because "the journey since Nigeria's formal independence in 1960 has not propelled our country to the level of development to which our founding fathers aspired."

"Before the close of the last century, we were left behind in barbarism and stone-age facilities while the rest of the world progressed into modernity, self-sufficiency and sustained growth," they added.


At yesterday's meeting were delegates of nine political parties, 21 pro-conference ethnic organisations and 12 pro-conference civil organisations.


The parties were the Al`liance for Democracy (AD), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), National Action Council (NAC), Nigerian Advance Party (NAP), Peoples Mandate Party (PMP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) and Progressive Action Congress (PAC).


From the civil society were the Citizens Forum (CF), Congress of Free Trade Union (CFTU), Movement for National Reformation (MNR), The Patriots, Women in Nigeria (WIN), Women and Law Development (WLD) and United Action for Democracy (UAD). There were also the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Citizens Forum for Constitutional Reform (CFCR) and Campaign for Democracy (CD).


In the pack of the ethnic nationalities-based groups at the meeting were Afe Annang, Atam Peoples Congress (APC), Ebrutu Consultative Assembly (ECA).


Oron Union, Ibibio Elders Union, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ijaw National Congress (INC), Ijaw Youths Association (IYA), Ohaneze, Igbo National Congress (INC) and MASSOB.


The rest were the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Edo Okpamakhin, Afenifere, Yoruba Council of Elders, Yoruba Parapo, Coalition of Oodua Self-determination Groups (COSEG), Middle Belt Progressives Forum (MBF), Arewa Youths Forum (AYF) and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).


Recalling that there was a time when enormous growth took place in the country, PRONACO lamented that political bickering, violent politicking and dictatorial outbursts which distorted the political landscape of the country had taken over.


They said 15 years of mounting clamour for change after the "civil democratic rule, which we hoped would lead to structural transformation, has not re-emerged, justified the need for the conference."

Besides, they added that President Olusegun Obasanjo's national dialogue was merely for constitutional amendment.


"Now, we need to sit together as a people to reassess our positioning, and the clamour for a Peoples National Conference has been deafening ... our various nationalities have to covenant, in a constitution, the form of federating units and a federal authority suitable for multinational democratic states," they added. The group stressed that "devolution of powers, fiscal federalism and a whole gamut of rights will be foundational constitutional requirements of the new and stronger association we all dream."

Notable PRONACO leaders at the meeting include. Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Kola Onaseye Dudu, Chief Enafo Ajise, Prof. Sadesola Akande, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd). Others are Dr. Robinson Momoh, Amb. Olu Tula, Mrs. A. Tula, Mrs. A. Essien, Chief Mrs. Elizabeth Adiukwu-Bakare and Amb. Segun Olusola.


In a chat with The Guardian, Fasehun said the refusal of the current government to yield to the clamour for national conference shows that it was yet to acquire a full democratic status.


"If you have a government in place that says it is democratic, it should be prepared to give to the people what they want to re-order and restructure this nation so that our lives individually and nationally may be better", he said.






Daily Champion

January 13, 2005

Council of State okays national dialogue

•Enahoro’s group seeks 480-member SNC

THOMAS IMONIKHE (Deputy Political Editor) and LERE OJEDOKUN, Abuja

NATIONAL Council of State (NCS) yesterday approved the convocation of the proposed national conference along the line of the Presidency’s national dialogue, but with far-reaching decisions on its composition and duration.

The Council at its first meeting of the year, at the State House, Abuja resolved, among others, that the proposed confab be named National Political Reform.

But, in Lagos, representatives of ethnic nationalities yesterday began a crucial meeting expected to agree on modalities for their convocation of a "Peoples National Conference" with elder statesman, Chief Anthony Enahoro proposing 480 delegates for the conference.

NCS also recommended that a total of 400 representatives, either to be elected or appointed, should participate in the dialogue with President Olusegun Obasanjo empowered to choose about 50 of them from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Each of the six geo-political zones would also be expected to ensure balance in ethnic composition.

The meeting, which was chaired by President Olusegun Obasanjo, had in attendance Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former President Shehu Shagari, former Heads of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and governors.

Generals Muhammed Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida did not attend the meeting which lasted over four hours.

Three governors, namely Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Olusegun Agagu (Ondo) briefed State House correspondents after the meeting.

Gov. Makarfi explained that the council also approved the terms of reference for the conference as well as its composition and time frame.

He further said that the duration of the conference was put at three months but this could be extended, if need be.

On the composition of representatives, he said "six persons will be elected from each state so that, as much as possible the ethnic composition from each state could be covered".

He added that various interest groups like religious bodies, civil society, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and religious bodies, among others, would be included.

Gov. Markarfi also noted that participants would be nominated based on political parties, senatorial districts and religious groups with each state nominating its representatives.

The council also approved that ethnic and religious issues should be expunged from the questionnaire for the coming national population census.

The governor explained that this was to ensure promotion of national unity and harmony, stressing that it has been discovered that those who do not wish the country well have been cashing in the two factors to distract government attention because of their sensitive nature.

Another highlight was an advice to President Obasanjo to fill the vacancies in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Population Commission (NPC) based on Federal Character policy.

At the ethnic nationalities forum, Enahoro also suggested that the present revenue sharing formula be reviewed to increase derivation fund to 50 per cent as against 13 per cent in the existing formula even as he allayed fears that the conference would result in Nigeria’s break-up.

Chief Enahoro’s proposals were contained in a working document for delegates at a parley organised by the pro-national Conference Organisations holding at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.

Specifically under a proposal submitted by the Movement for National Reformation (MNR) headed by Chief Enahoro, the identified 12 mono nationality groups in Nigeria should have 20 representatives each totalling 240 delegates while the six multiple nationality groups should elect 40 delegates bringing the number to 240 delegates.

The 12 mono-nationality groups are Ibibio, Igbo, Edo, Nupe, Gbagyi, Fulani, Ijaw, Urhobo, Yoruba, Tiv, Hausa and Kanuri. The six multiple nationality groups, however, would be drawn from Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, Rivers and Bayelsa states, Delta State, West Middle Belt, Central Middle Belt and East Middle Belt.

Besides, the MNR suggested that 144 delegates or 30 per cent of the 480 delegates should be women.

On the agenda for the proposed conference which is independent of the National Dialogue planned by the Federal Government, the working document stated that delegates would consider reducing the current 36 states structure to the old four regions, or the present six geo-political zones or 18 regions as proposed by the MNR.

Other items listed on the agenda include power sharing among all tiers of government and fiscal federalism, while decisions reached at the Conference would form draft constitution that would be ratified by Nigerians in a referendum.

Welcoming delegates to Lagos, Chief Enahoro said the meeting would work out modalities for convening what he described as a People’s National Conference and strategize on how to implement the major decisions reached.

"Although there are those who have posited that a National Conference might balkanise the country... that conference will result in a more cohesive Nigeria where indeed, every Nigerian ethnic group is comfortable and free from oppression imposed by a wrongly structured system," he noted in a speech read by Mr. Edet Onoh on his behalf even though he was present at the meeting.

He noted that the meeting would not only build consensus among the organisations and form a National Conference Commission which would later convoke the conference with sovereign powers.

Personalities and organisations represented included Senator Ayo Fasanmi, Deputy National Leader of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti of the Citizens Forum, Prof. Jadesola Akande, former Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Frederick Fasehun and Mr. Gani Adams founder and leader of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and Chief Sunny Uche Momah, President General Igbo Speaking Community Lagos.

Others are Chief (Mrs.) Remi Adiukwu Bakare, Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, the Middle Belt Forum, the Ijaw National Congress, the National Association of Nigerian Students, and the United Action for Democracy (UAD) among other organisations.



This Day


Enahoro, Akinrinade, Others Stage Mock Confab


By Ndubuisi Ugah, 01.13.2005



Elder statesman, Chief Anthony Enahoro yesterday, led over 100 pro-democracy activists to kick off the People's National Conference, with a vow to ensure that the proposed Sovereign National Conference (SNC) is held.

The conference, according to Pro-national Conference Organisation (PRONACO) is expected to restructure the federation and settle the issues of devolution of powers, fiscal federalism and democratic rights as enshrined in a new constitution that would guarantee peace and progress among all the people.

The activists also said the conference will strive to set up modalities that would culminate in the convocation of SNC, that would be acceptable to all Nigerians.

The organisers said the basis for setting up PRONACO was to look into the various issues bordering on the unity and progress of the country.

Those present at the mock-conference include the deputy leader of pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Lt. General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Dr. Beko Ransome-kuti, Prof. Jadesola Akande, factional President of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasheun, Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs. Remi Adiukwu-Bakare, representatives of civil society organisations as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

Before deliberations commenced, a member of PRONACO's planning committee, Mr. Edet Uno in welcoming the delegates said, "the journey since Nigeria's formal independence in 1960 has not propelled our country into the level of development to which our founding fathers aspired".

"There was a time in our country when enormous growth took place. Physical constructions changed the geography of our cities. An era of phenomenal growth gave us earth restructuring water dams, population bursts, electricity generation, dual express carriageways and public and private universities.

"Since then, self-sustained growth has eluded us. Political bickering, violent politicking and dictatorial outbursts have distorted the landscape of the Nigerian polity, and there has been countrywide clamour for a change. The civil democratic rule which we hoped would lead to structural transformation has now emerged.

"Now we need to sit together as a people to reassess our positionaing, and clamour for a People's National Conference has been deafening. Happily, the Presidency has joined the train, though unfortunately it has done so from a governing stance. The President has decided on what he calls a National Dialogue whose terms of reference appear to be to make mere amendments to the 1999 Constitution", he stated.

Uno explained that "the demand for a People's National Conference has been mounting in the last 15 years." He added that "several workshops, conferences, bilateral and multilateral consultations amongst concerned organisations, worked out modalities and approaches for a popular national conference that would lead to an eventual restructuring and transformation of the country" has been held in the past.

To achieve PRONACO's objectives, Uno said that "our nationalities have to covenant, in a constitution, the form of federating units and a federal authority suitable for multinational democratic states".

He further said, "devolution of powers, fiscal federalism and a whole gamut of rights will be foundational constitutional requirements of the new and stronger association we all dream of".

Uno hinted that "the issues to be tabled for discussion at this meeting will include the structure, composition, agenda and timetable of such a conference", while stating that "we will also strategise on how to implement the major decision to convoke a People's national Conference".

Noting that the fears by some Nigerians, nothwithstanding, the convocation of the conference will not lead to the balkanisation of the country", Uno reiterated that "this meeting is expected to go through thorough deliberations to set the necessary rules and modalities for the conduct of the conference we desire".

According to him, "that conference will result in a more cohesive Nigeria where indeed, every Nigerian ethnic group is comfortable and free from oppression imposed by a wrongly structured system".

Expected to be part of the new constitution, THISDAY gathered "are the points of amendments or additions being stressed by various drafts produced by intensive workshops, conferences and workshops", which then would form the constitutional framework for a new union.

THISDAY checks revealed that the highlights of issues to be deliberated upon include justiciability of social constitutional provisions; parliamentary democracy versus executive presidency; free and deregistered political parties; proportional representation; women rights; federating units to pay tax to sustain the union government among others.



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