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26 Mar 2018

Agbakoba, Balewa, others form new group, demand restructuring

A new group, Grand National Political Coalition (GNPC), led by a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba and Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa, has called for the immediate redefinition of the present governance structure of Nigeria to make it more democratic and citizen inclusive.

It also said the country was tilting towards social and political harmony and anarchy and that urgent political actions should be put in place to stem the drift and rebuild social cohesion among Nigerians.

The group stated this in a communique issued after its summit last Wednesday in Abuja.

The communique, signed by its Deputy Director General, Naseer Kura, was sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.

It listed those at the summit to include an economist and politician, Pat Utomi; a former Finance Minister, Idika Kalu; a former military governor of the old Plateau State, Dan Suleiman; President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Shettima Yerima; former senator, Bassey Ewa Henshaw; former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka; Buba Galadima, a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari; and Debe Odumegwu-Ojukwu, son of the leader of the defunct Biafra, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by Isa Aremu; Northern Elders Forum (NEF) led by Sheriff Ashir; National Youth Movements led by Abayomi Rotimi Mighty and Wale Ajani; Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN) comprising 35 opposition political parties led by A.A. Salam; and the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties led by Tank Yinusa.

There were also representatives of civil society groups, women groups, youth movements and the coalition of persons with special needs.

Mr. Agbakoba, who leads the GNPC, is the leader of the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) which, earlier in the year, indicated its plan to form a broad-based coalition with other groups ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Mr. Tafawa Balewa is the son of Nigeria’s former prime minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

“There must be a concerted drive to bring about a new Nigeria that would work for all and that such new Nigeria must guarantee the
safety and freedom of each citizen of Nigeria,” the group said in the communique.

“The wanton killings in whatever guise of Nigerians is unacceptable and viewed in serious terms as pure failure of governance and political system at both the national and sub–national strata.”

The group urged every Nigerian adult to, as a matter of social responsibility, obtain a voters card and participate in the recruitment process of public office holders, who seek for elective offices.

GNPC, which said it received “nod and backing” of the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, said, as an interventionist force, it would interface with all willing political forces who share its stand towards developing standards for all aspirants or candidates aspiring for elective office in the 2019
elections.

The communique said all the groups in attendance resolved to work in unison “towards overthrowing the current decadent pauperising political order in Nigeria and to replace it with a prospering democratic and inclusive political system and culture.”

It also said it would embark on nationwide sensitisation, advocacy and public awareness program on the need for every adult citizen of Nigeria, irrespective of class and creed, to obtain a voters card and engage in the emerging ballot based-PVC revolution to democratically dislodge the entrenched corruptive political order in the country.

The group, which claimed it has five million members across the federation, said it would identify and recruit more national change agents and credible leading lights of Nigeria, who would become champions towards the actualisation of a new Nigeria of its collective dreams.

It said it would engage in grassroots and mass media mobilisation at all levels with special focus on local communities and the youths ahead of the 2019 elections.

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