Why Nigeria must embrace national dialogue


The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has insisted that a national dialogue is the way to go in ensuring a lasting solution to the myriads of constitutional problems facing the country.

He gave the charge on Tuesday in Akure as the Senate commenced zonal hearings on the review of the 1999 Constitution.

Mr Akeredolu said the people were desirous of a national dialogue to chart a new course for the nation, saying it was a crucial step for the continued existence of the country.

He was hosting members of the review committee led by the Deputy Senate majority leader and senator representing Ondo North Senatorial District, Ajayi Borrofice.

Other Members of the committee who were present were Biodun Olujimi, Nicholas Tofowomo, Olubunmi Adetumbi and Opeyemi Bamidele.

The committee holds a public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution at the International Centre for Culture and Event (DOME), Akure on Wednesday.

Mr Akeredolu noted that the people had lost confidence in the system due to the fact that a number of issues had been left to fester for too long.

He, however, restated his commitment to the unity of the nation, noting that the issues of insecurity and true federalism had affected many things in the county, including the trust of the people.

“I kept making a case anytime I have the opportunity. My circumstance cannot make me believe in secession,” he said.

“My wife is from the SouthEast. My Sons married from other regions outside (the) Southwest.

“But strong points have been made. Everybody wants to see fairness, federalism. Those are the areas. Is this how to run a federal government? Is it an inclusive one? How do we have fair representation? People are worried.

“This constitution review, your efforts, I pray it should be accepted. Our people believe that there must be dialogue. People are saying we want national dialogue. How we convoke it, I don’t know. I believe those are issues we must look at.”

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Mr Akeredolu, who said the people are already on the edge, added that the issues of farmers, herders clash could not be wished away in the course of the public hearing.

“It is not easy to wish herders/farmers clash away. Our people are on the edge. What are we saying about (the) police? Are we stressing multi-level policing? Are we talking about state police? I believe opportunities are there for us in this country,” he added.

Earlier, Mr Borrofice described the constitution review as a crucial exercise, especially at a time the nation is confronted with many issues.

He identified the issues of ethnic nationalism and restructuring, which are at the front burner, as part of the reasons the exercise becomes important at this time.

Although Mr Boroffice and the governor had been opposed to each other since the latter’s first term in office, the lawmaker seized the opportunity to praise the governor’s leadership of the state.

“We are aware of what you are doing in the state. We know what it means to run a state when the funds are not there,” said Mr Boroffice.

“We are happy that you are using what you have to deliver for the people. Don’t expect everybody to praise you.”

He said the committee was committed and determined to carry out the review of the constitution.

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