CONCEPT NOTE FOR LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY DIALOGUE (LEAD) NATIONAL ONLINE FORUM/POLICY DISCUSSION ON THE STATE OF THE NATION

INTRODUCTION

        Federalism may mean different things to different people, but what appears to be constant about this political system is the intrinsic principle that distinguishes it from other systems. This principle, which where called the federal principle, has been defined as the ‘method of dividing powers so that the central and regional governments are each, within a sphere, co-ordinate and independent’. What is meant by ‘independent’ here is that each tier of government has its own independent functions and neither has supreme authority over the other. However, this view poses a problem of applicability because some measures of interdependence and cooperation are necessary for the successful operation of any given federal system or government.

2.     Nigeria, a previously unitary state, became a federation in 1954. Nigeria’s founding fathers desired a federal political framework, believing that federal states have the structural capacity to accommodate diversity. Besides this desire, there was also the presence of certain socio-economic conditions of insecurity and unemployment. However, the problem with this call has been the connotations it carries; and agitation for “true“ federalism or restructuring has gained more recurrent usage in our political lexicon in Nigeria, like poverty and corruption. The voices for a new form of federalism that will give more powers to the constituent parts of the federation and reduce the powers at the centre are getting louder and heading to a crescendo. The central concern, it appears, is how the national cake can be split more justly among the constituent units of the country.

3.     Opponents of the proposed new form of federalism support the status quo or, at best, may not support the old ways of running our federation but are suspicious of the new federalism being touted by the agitators, who they sometimes see as troublemakers or sympathisers of secession. The calls for a new form of federalism have polarised Nigeria. This polarisation has taken regional dimensions and seems to be creating a North/South divide. The history of these calls shows a general acceptance that the change from the status quo must be championed and brought about by the Federal Government, and the struggle for this change has been one that seeks to convince government at the centre not only to initiate restructuring and reforms to the country but also to bring them to fruition. Over the years, these objectives have remained the same. What has changed is the strategy and approach to achieving them.

4.     The apostles of a new federalism or proper fiscal federalism seem to have found a new route to their destination. This new traction, given force or driven not by ordinary people but by highly placed elected leaders and political operatives, have further widened the natural fault lines of the Southern, Middle Belt and Northern Nigeria. In this new unfolding scenario, the theatre of war is not some constitutional conference, constituent assembly, national conference or even the National Assembly, but through the platform of the states or in a more collective sense, the “southern states” through the instrument of the same Constitution that we know[1].

5.     These recent developments of state-sponsored push towards better fiscal federalism happened despite the relentless resistance of the Federal Government to hold on to the old system that is not working for the subnational units. This tendency towards more appropriate fiscal federalism has now reached an unprecedented height. The state governments are pushing for this from four different directions: Exercising greater financial power by seeking the collection of value added tax (VAT) and striving towards more internally generated revenue (IGR); establishing local security infrastructure that are parallel to federal ones; enacting anti-open grazing laws; and the pressure of southern governors for the zoning of the presidency to the South across all parties.

6.     It appears that restructuring or true federalism is a matter we cannot wish away. As matters stand today, it is a reality we must resolve for our country political system to move forward. The State governments seem to be forcing a new form of federalism on the centre by looking inward at the existing Constitution and enforcing their rights in areas hitherto seen as the exclusive preserve of the federal government such as center state relations, accountability and transparency, resource management, human rights, etc[2]. The ongoing constitutional review by the National Assembly needs to be swift, and continuous engagement and dialogue pursued so as to avoid a constitutional crisis such that will set Nigeria back another 61 years.

Project Goal

7.      The overall goal of this project is to promote constructive engagement and national restructuring aimed at strengthening national cohesion, good and accountable governance as well as inclusivity, justice and fairness in the Nigeria polity.

Methodology:

8.     The Policy discussions on the state of the nation will be actualized via a wide range of multimedia means (online) to galvanize voices from all works of life vis–a-vis  geo-political zones, this will afford citizens both home and in diaspora to contribute their views on The State of the Nation as regards the various topics.  The discourse is going to have 3 speakers discourse on 3 various topics as it relates to the theme of the event.

Objectives

9.     The online forum/policy discussion is aimed at achieving the following objectives;

  1. Creating a platform for more inclusive, democratic and objective interactions on project Nigeria, where justice and fairness are core imperatives.
  2. Canvassing the buy-in of all stakeholders on the indivisibility and in-dissolvability yearning of Nigerians for good and accountable governance.
  3. Build and sustain collaborative synergy between political parties, youths/women public office seekers and other stakeholders towards promoting access and social trust in governance through knowledge sharing and working for common purposes.

Target Audience

10.   The National Online Form/Policy Discussion is going to converge 60 participants ranging from the political class, academia, youth and women groups, PLWDs, organized private sectors etc.

Proposed Theme, Topics and Date,

11.   The Proposed date of National Online Forum/Policy Discussion on the State of the Nation is Monday 13thof December, 2021 witha theme and 2 subtopics ie;

Theme:

The search for true Federalism in the midst of Insecurity, Youth Unemployment and Economic Adversity

Lead Speaker: Amb. Oseloka H. Obaze(Managing Director/CEO, Selonnes Consult Ltd)

Topics:

  1. Food Security: A Pathway to Socio-Economic Recovery and Sustainable Peace in Nigeria;

Speaker: Mr. MajeedDahiru (Public commentator and Policy Analyst)

  • Galvanizing Youth and Women Participation as a tool for National Cohesion and Effective Governance.

Speaker: Prof. Hauwa Evelyn Yusuf (Director Centre for Gender Studies, Kaduna State University)

Event Moderator:

  1. Kimberly Nwachukwu Blessing, ( Broadcaster Nigeria Info Fm, Abuja)

18th November, 2021


[2] https://dailypost.ng/2021/02/23/true-federalism-only-solution-for-insecurity-in-nigeria-olowu-kuta-oba-oyelude/

RE-ENGINEERING THE CORRECTIONAL SERVICE OF NIGERIA

The Nigerian Prison Service was established in 1861 along with the advent of Lagos Colony. Over the years and along the developmental trajectory of modern independent Nigeria, the Nigerian Prison Service has witnessed challenges in the discharge of it’s mandate. Over crowded facilities, broken down infrastructures and colonial mindset in the approach to mandate has been the challenges of the Service. Aware of this, the Federal Government of Nigeria has changed the orientation of the Service by the promulgation of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) Act of 2019. It is a transformation that seeks to make both the custodian and non custodian components meet international best practices. This is a huge task not just for the Service but for the entire nation. In realization of the task Savannah Centre has thrown its expertise in support of NCoS to achieve a complete new focus and national impact. Pursuant to this, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Savannah Centre and NCoS. The major areas of collaboration include: capacity building, advocacy, research and skill acquisition for inmates. Over the next three years, SCDDD shall be engaged in making meaningful impact in the correctional services to citizens and society. The MoU was signed on 13 October, 2021 at the headquarters of NCoS.
Work has indeed commenced with the establishment of a powerful joint implementation team. It’s inaugural meeting was held at SCDDD Conference Room on the 20 October. Series of this joint meeting are expected in the course of implementing the project.

Savannah Centre Sponsored Stakeholders Dialogue Event in Niger State, Call for Improved Governance, Welfare and Security

In the latest of the dialogue series organised by Lux Terra Leadership Foundation in partnership with the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy Democracy Development (SCDDD), stakeholders from different ethno-religious and civil society organisations, as well as representatives of media houses in Niger State, met for a one day multi-stakeholder dialogue session at the at NSDC Hotel, Minna, on Wednesday May 19 2021, to deliberate on the current challenges confronting the Nigerian nation and also made recommendations for the way out of Nigeria’s governance problems.

Executive Director of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Fr George Ehusani who was represented by Majeed Dahiru, welcomed all participants and charged them to deliberate meaningfully on the challenges facing the nation and come out with viable recommendations that will take care of the genuine aspirations of the people of Niger State.

Among participants at the dialogue session were the representatives of Niger South, Dr Ahmad Shehu, Niger North Usman Musa Ibeto and Niger East Moses Alkali. Others include, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria( CAN) Niger state chapter, Rev Dr Mathias Echiado, Chairperson of the Forum of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) Hauwa Kulu Abdullahi, Kolo Muhammad of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Minna, Aisha Beddegi of Badeggi FM and Christiana Barau of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA).

The participants who all commended the initiative, called on governments at all levels to improve governance by providing adequate security and welfare for the Nigerian people, and to work seriously on job creation and poverty alleviation.

The participants also lamented the collapse of the family system and admonished a return to the days of strong moral values as the norm in the society. They also identified the absence of social Justice as the root cause of the disunity in Nigeria, and called on the Federal Government to put in place deliberate policies and programs that will ensure justice, equity and fairness to all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity or religion. This they said will go a long way to achieve unity, peace and security in Nigeria.

Participants call for collective responsibility from political leaders and citizens during a Savannah Centre’s Sponsored Zonal Dialogues in Nasarawa State.

The dialogue series organised by Lux Terra Leadership Foundation in partnership with the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy Democracy Development (SCDDD) continued on Tuesday May 11, 2021 at the NUJ Press Centre in Lafia, Nasarawa State, with stakeholders from diverse ethno-religious and civil society organisations, as well as representatives of media houses in the state.

Executive Director of Lux Terra, Fr George Ehusani who was represented by Barr Mike Utsaha, stressed that at a time like this, there is need for Nigerians to sit together as a people, take a critical look at their challenges, and come up with workable suggestions on the way forward for the nation. He enjoined all participants to contribute meaningfully to the deliberations in the course of the day.

A Panel discussion on the topic, “Nigeria and the Political Economy of National Security, Unity and Development” featured the following among other panelists: Peter Ahemba, President Tiv Development Association in Nasarawa State, John Umar, President Mada Youth Association, and Chief Clement Ahar Uhembe, Lecturer, Federal University, Lafia (and former Commissioner for Higher Education, Nasarawa State).

The deliberations that followed the panel discussions occurred in a very peaceful and convivial manner. And at the end of the day participants commended the initiative and concluded that the unity of the Nigerian nation is sacrosanct and must be protected, even as they acknowledged the general leadership failure at Federal, State, Local government levels and the loss of values, as well as the widespread loss of core societal values.

The participants called for more active and responsible participation of the young population in the political process at all levels. They also resolved that for any nation to move forward, there must be peace and security and they called on the government to ensure that peace returns to Nigeria, no matter the price that must be paid. They said government at all levels should be more proactive in just and equitable project and policy implementation, in such a way that all segments of society are included in national development, and all are made to feel a sense of belonging. Such they observed, will help to reduce the crime rate in the society.

They expressed gratitude to Lux Terra and the Savannah Centre for the great job done so far, even as they look forward to the ongoing dialogue process being sustained, as a viable path to resolving the current challenges of the country.

The participants emphasized that the task of promoting the unity, development and peace of the nation is not one for political leaders alone but the collective responsibility of all Nigerians.

Lux Terra with Funding Support from Savannah Centre Holds a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Unity, Security and Sustainable Development in Kwara State.

In continuation of its dialogue meetings with stakeholders in the North Central geopolitical region of Nigeria, LUX TERRA Leadership Foundation held the Kwara State session in Ilorin on Saturday May 15, 2021.

Such dialogue sessions, meant to harvest the perspectives and recommendations of critical stakeholders on urgent issues of national concern, had earlier taken place in Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa and Niger States.

The Executive Director of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Rev. Fr. George Ehusani, was represented by Joseph Atang who also facilitated the meeting. Mr. Atang said that Lux Terra believes that “the bottom-up approach and the non-governmental status of the conveners of these dialogue sessions, will make the eventual output more acceptable to both the government and a majority of the Nigerian population.”

Participants at the meeting included religious and traditional leaders, representatives of community based organisations, the youth, women, and such professional bodies as Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Medical Association, as well as Farmers and Transhumance Pastoralists.

Good Leadership, Justice, Equity and National Unity Where Demands from North Central Region During a Savannah Centre Sponsored Zonal Interactive Dialogue.

It was a gathering of eminent Nigerians from the six states of the north central geo-political zone of Nigeria, for the opening session of a two day North Central Zonal Dialogue on the state of the nation.

The event, which was organised by the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation in partnership with the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, was held at the event hall of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Abuja on Tuesday June 8, 2021, had in attendance four elected delegates each from Benue, Nassarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kwara and Plateau states.

This is the culmination of Lux Terra’s dialogue initiative with each of the states in the North Central zone, which began in April 2021.

Among the eminent Nigerians present at the event were John Cardinal Onayiekan Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum and former Minister of Agriculture, Mr Labaran Maku, former Minister of Information, and Prof. Olugbemiro Jegede, the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria and former Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Mrs Eugenia Abu, former Executive Director at the Nigerian Television Authority, Ene Ede, Women’s Right Activist, Barr Hussaini Abdulrahman an Industrialist, and Hajara Yakubu Wanka, member of the Front for National Rebirth.

In his welcome remarks Rev Fr George Ehusani, Executive Director of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, lamented the current state of the Nigerian nation, characterised by failed governance, gross injustice and inequity, mutual acrimony and distrust, widespread insecurity and socio-economic dislocation, which have now given rise to the demand for self determination by segments of the polity. Fr Ehusani lamented Nigeria’s current slide towards state collapse. While expressing his conviction that all hope was not lost and that Nigeria is still redeemable, Ehusani called for intensive dialogue among all Nigerian stakeholders in order to save the sinking ship.

In their separate remarks John Cardinal Onayiekan, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Mr Labaran Maku and Hussaini Abdulrahman, called for justice, fairness, equity and inclusiveness as a panacea for peace, unity, security and prosperity for Nigeria and Nigerians. They also commended the patriotism and commitment of the delegates from the six states of the North Central geo-political zone who have converged on Abuja for the two day Dialogue Conference.

The Dialogue Conference concludes on Wednesday June 9, 2021.