NIGERIA – A civil society group, the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD), has called for a national dialogue as a solution to the insecurity and other challenges bedevilling the country.
The group, in a statement signed and made available by its Executive Director, Ambassador Sani S. Bala, said it reached the resolution after due consultation with various stakeholders
SCDDD also offers to mainstream a whole of the society-driven national dialogue to attain consensus on workable pathways to durable peace, national unity, security and sustainable development.
“On the 8th of October 2020, a group of well-meaning and concerned Nigerians from all walks of life issued a very strong public statement drawing the immediate attention of the Federal and State Governments to what they termed as “unsatisfactory responses” to the challenges of governance in Nigeria,” the group added.
“The group publicly expressed the need for collective action by all, in collaboration with the Nigerian civil society organizations, to proffer lasting solutions to these recurrent multifaceted challenges of governance threatening the nation’s existence.”
SCDDD said it was deeply touched by the shared concerns expressed by this group about the unsatisfactory Government’s responses to the challenges of governance in Nigeria;
It said that it is “motivated by the shared belief that Nigerians of different ethnic nationalities will tolerate their religious and cultural differences to work together conscientiously for the common cause of rebuilding a united and prosperous Nigerian nation and driven by its total commitment to the promotion of durable peace, unity, good governance and sustainable development in a united Nigeria.”
SCDDD said it is “desirous of restoring public confidence in the Nigerian State, which the concerned Nigerians argued was heightening the divides in the federation and creating widespread demand for dialogue and consensus building on restructuring, the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD), after due consultation with various stakeholders, offers to mainstream a whole of the society-driven national dialogue to attain consensus on workable pathways to durable peace, national unity, security and sustainable development.”
In this regard, SCDDD “invites and welcomes like-minded and willing Nigerian CSOs, domiciled and active within the different geopolitical zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to join in this onerous task of driving the process of meaningful national dialogue that could lay sound basis for the development of the common grounds for durable peace, national unity, security and sustainable development in Nigeria.
“The first phase of these dialogues is expected to be three months, from the end of January to late April 2021. The SCDDD and the stakeholding CSOs and other groups are expected to commence their deliberations at the zonal levels.
“Although our national challenges are varied and wide spread, the zonal level deliberations shall focus on these interrelated thematic areas of Unity, Security, Youth Engagement and CSO-Government Partnerships across the country.
“It is important to underscore the point that the role of the CSOs as as grassroots monitoring and humanitarian organizations in promoting and advocating for accountability in governance and pushing for the presence of Government in all communities are increasingly being recognized and encouraged by the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS, hence the need for partnership between the CSOs and the State and Federal Governments.
“The Savannah Centre wishes to use this medium to appeal to all stakeholders in the six geopolitical zones and the FCT that are supportive of defining the challenges of governance in any part of the country as national concerns requiring collective efforts, to fully participate in the zonal meetings soon to be called by their zonal CSOs driving the dialogue. The Savannah Centre strongly encourages the participating stakeholders to make the pragmatic recommendations aimed at proffering lasting solutions to our national challenges.
“At the end of the first three months, Savannah Centre, alongside representatives of the stakeholders on these engagements, shall interface with the Federal Government as well as zonal governments to craft positive pathways forward as well as supportive sets of activities that can contribute to the overall success of the badly needed nation-building process that can guarantee peace, national unity, youth engagement and sustainable development. “