—Says June 12 Democracy Day won’t be complete without passage of Electoral Act Amendment
–Identifies NDDC problem
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, has identified restructuring and true federalism as a panacae to the insecurity crisis raging the nation.
The UPU also said that the June 12 Democracy Day celebration would be incomplete without the swift passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill.
This is as the group said to be the sixth ethnic group in the country has thrown its weight behind the communiqué issued by the Southern Governors after a meeting held in Asaba, Delta state.
UPU in a statement signed by its President, Chief Joe Omene on the ‘state of the nation’, lamented the brutal killings and incessant abductions taking place across the six geo-political zones of the country.
Omene attributed the lack of progress in the war against insecurity to “defective single-layered policing system and the unitary structure of the country”.
According to him, “All of these is due to lack of a basic agreement that allows all Nigerians to find reasonable accommodation with one another through a genuine Constitutional reforms that would allow for and provide a widely accepted and acceptable system.
“Rather than provide genuine regimes for economic opportunities for all and investments in modern agricultural and livestock production that will improve productivity and wellbeing, our political elites prey on the emotional and socio-cultural weaknesses of the different nationalities to foment religious, social and economic divisions.
“It is, therefore, gratifying that some regional leaders have given these issues that are tearing the country apart deep introspection and came up with a consensus to review and reform the grundnorm guiding the governance of Nigeria; that is restructuring and a return to true federalism is the only viable path to save Nigeria.”
UPU in the statement advocated for a return to the 1960 and 1963 constitutions.
On the administrative challenge facing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) UPU attributed the problem to “historical roots” of Nigeria’s creation, adding that until “investors subscribe to sustainable solutions where all parties, investors and host communities share a mutual win-win accord as envisioned in the 1961 Niger-Delta Development Act and abide by it, the current parody of governance playing out at the NDDC will persist with dangerous outcomes for everyone.
It said, “To stem the crisis at the NDDC from degenerating further and to prevent the Commission becoming totally irrelevant to the development aspiration of the people of the Niger-Delta, the UPU calls on the federal government return to the Act that established the agency in order for the Commission to focus on its mandate.”
The UPU further expressed concern over secessionists “claims and counter claims” of territories in the Southsouth, especially Urhobo areas without consultation with the people.
It said, “The Urhobos with a demographic of over six million (6 million) people, are larger than several independent nations within and outside Africa and are quite capable of independent existence, but if they must be drawn into any federal union it should not be taken for granted that their territories are simply there for annexation by all comers.
“The reasonable thing to do is to begin with a wide consultation involving all Nationalities based on agreeable terms of agreement as recently advanced by the Yoruba Socio-Cultural group Afenifere.”
On June 12 Democracy Day celebration, UPU said the celebration would be incomplete without the swift passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill.
The statement said, “There will always be the need for credible electoral systems to enable credible elections and referenda which are part of a functional democratic federal system.
“This necessity makes it necessary to commend the courage of the current government for acknowledging and creating a permanent commemoration of the June 12 election as a milestone of credible election in Nigeria used to celebrate democracy.
“But this celebration of Democracy will be incomplete without the passage and accent of the Electoral Act amendment Bill now awaiting legislative and Executive action.”