Almost 24 hours after the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) canvassed a return to the 1963 Constitution, the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) has announced plans to reconvene its national confab adjourned in 2007 following calls for the restructuring of the country.
PRONACO is a pan-Nigerian movement initiated under the leadership of the late Chief Anthony Enahoro and the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, to resolve Nigeria’s perennial constitutional challenges.
The group said it had become necessary to reconvene after a series of consultations with eminent leaders of thought and well-meaning political figures in the country over restructuring and agitations for self- determination by the Nigerian people.
In a statement yesterday, the group’s spokesman, Mr. Olawale Okunniyi, said the Nigerian peoples’ confab would adopt the 2007 Peoples’ Draft Constitution as its confab proposal.
“PRONACO would not like to watch the country slide into a major civil strife before invoking its standing mandate to intervene in the worrisome political tension and ethnic acrimony currently embattling the country’s political space owing to contentions over the constitutional structure of Nigeria.”
The group said it would soon interface with President Muhammadu Buhari, who incidentally was the most senior ally and backer of the movement from the northern region while its confab lasted in 2007, on the urgent need to convene a government-driven national consultative panel to advise him on how to proceed on the contentious matter rather than allow it degenerate into a major distraction for governance in the country.
Although the group commended the roles which political leaders such as the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have been playing on the issue of restructuring so far, it said it had finalised plans to request some other frontline national leaders in the country to play key roles towards the success of the proposed confab tentatively billed to commence in a consultative mode in January 2018.
The group disclosed that some eminent leaders of thought, who had played key roles as stabilising forces in the country such as Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Dr. Ahmed Jodah, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Dr. Paul Unongo, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chief Edwin Clark, Chief Bisi Akande and Dr. Usman Bugaje had been identified and penciled down for consultations.
“The proposed confab is expected to be composed of delegates and elective representation from territorial social movements, ethnic nationality groups, political parties, labour centres, the private sector, professional bodies, youth and women groups as well as government agencies, which shall be attending in advisory capacity to join other voting delegates to consider both the 2007 PRONACO’s Peoples Constitution as well as the Nigerian 1963 Constitution adopted as confab proposal,” the PRONACO statement read in part.
The group’s spokesman also expressed reservation over the current visibility of the military in the democratic dispensation, saying “It is abnormal and unnecessary. The police should be allowed to exhaust their capacity before drafting the military into civil matters.”
Adebanjo, who was contacted yesterday, said what the country was undergoing under the Buhari administration called for concerted efforts to tackle before it was late.
He specifically decried the military Operation Python Dance in the south-east and the planned military operation in the south-south and south-west, saying, “It was uncalled for, unnecessary, unconstitutional and dictatorial.”
According to the elder statesman, “Buhari has all the weapons of war under his control, all the weapons of war are in the north but we have God in the south. All the former Presidents and Heads of State except Chief Olusegun Obasanjo have recanted and said we should go back to true federalism, even some key stakeholders in his party.”