By James Ezema & Ogundare Abiodun
Former Secretary General of theÂ Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has kicked against some proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution by the Senate even as the former Minister for Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, advocates free, fair and credible 2011 elections where voters are allowed to decide who leads them, saying that many conflicts in Nigeria result from years of neglect and social injustice.
Both men spoke, weekend, at the National Daily Awards night in Lagos.
The glamourous event, attracted many dignitaries, including Governor Godswill Akpabio, who was the Man of the Year, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, emerged Governor of the Year and Most Outstanding Governor in South South.
Others are Chief Ernest Ndukwe; Brig. Gen. Maharazu Tsiga, DG, NYSC; Ali Baba, comedian, who were also awardees, as well as Amb. Segun Olusola.
Anyaoku, who chaired the event, in his opening remarks, said: â€œWeâ€™re struggling to entrench our democracy and weâ€™re struggling to manage series of conflicts that have occurred and still occurring in our country. The challenge of entrenching our democracy is there for all to see.
â€œWeâ€™re currently watching our National Assembly thinking to amend our constitution. And I must say that as of the times are not, in my view, extremely good. I reviewed the newspapers this morning and saw that at least one half of our National Assembly is thinking of making it legal for elected representatives to cross carpet. I think that will be a disaster for our democracy.
â€œI also read in the newspapers that some section of our National Assembly are thinking of removing the barring of indicted people from contesting election for public office. Again, I think that will be a disaster for our democracy because one of our main preoccupations in this country should be how to entrench good governance. I believe that these two measures, if adopted, will set us back
Good governance in its widest sense of having a government that adheres to the principles of democracy and adheres to the principles of good ethics.â€.
He added:Â â€œAt a time when we have lingering problems in the Niger Delta region and have recently had the recent tragic occurrence in Jos, and before then in Borno State, I believe that the message Jerry Gana will give us this evening will be particularly relevant.â€
While delivering a lecture titled, â€œStrategies for Conflict Resolution in Nigeriaâ€, Gana noted that peace and harmony are products of justice.
â€œIf you want people, if you want harmony, go for justice. But if there is social injustice in any form anywhere in any part of the federation, give it time, it will manifest. A lot of conflicts in the federal republic of Nigeria,Â are results of years of neglect, years of social injustice, years of oppression, years of non-good leadership.