By Adam Alqali
A coalition of Nigerian civil society organisations working in the area of promoting democracy have called for the inclusion of more non-state actors in the forthcoming National Conference. The coalition demanded for the reduction of government appointed delegates and that not less than two-thirds of the delegates to the conference are non-state actors.
This was made known yesterday at a press conference by the pro-democracy civil society organisations in Abuja on Wednesday. Addressing journalists, on behalf of the conveners, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), the Executive Director of CISLAC said: “There is so much to be said about the way and manner that numbers of delegates have been allocated to different organisations and constituencies.
“Nevertheless, our focus today is on the National Conference in its connection with the demands of the civil society movement as represented by the pro-democracy organisations with their roots in the anti-military struggle, and which have continued to deepen the democratic space since 1999, through their consistent stand and demands, reflecting the interests of the masses of Nigeria including during the January Uprising of 2012.”
“We want to state that the same groups which formed the driving and most consistent force in the struggle to enthrone democracy in Nigeria have remained central to the struggles of the masses. We have historically called for a Sovereign National Conference as a framework for determining a just and people-driven Nigerian state and to address the fundamental political, economic and other socio-cultural challenges facing our peoples and country”, he added.
According to the modalities paper released recently by the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (OSGF), of the 492 delegates of the National Conference, 46 will be nominated by the President; 108 by the 36 state governors (3 delegates each); 1 delegate by the FCT; and another 26 delegates would be nominated the Federal Government. Thus, I81 delegates would be nominated by the government.
The Conference was convened by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), United Action for Democracy (UAD), Protest to Power Movement (P2PM), African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) as well as Social Action.
The coalition also announced that they were sending pro-democracy civil society nominees to the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (OSGF).