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4/4/2014

SPACES FOR CHANGE

NATIONAL CONFERENCE & US!

Report of e-conference proceedings

‘National Conference & Us’


NATIONAL CONFERENCE & US! Report of e-conference proceedings Published by: Spaces for Youth Development and Social Change SPACES FOR CHANGE.S4C Headquarters:

Email: Website: Blog: E:Library: Facebook: Flickr: Twitter: Telephone:

3 Oduyemi Street, 1st Floor Opposite Ikeja Local Government Secretariat Anifowoshe, Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria

spacesforchange.s4c@gmail.com info@spacesforchange.org www.spacesforchange.org www.spacesforchange.blogspot.com http://issuu.com/spaces.for.change/docs/ http://www.facebook.com/groups/spacesforchange/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/spacesforchange/ @spaces4change 234.70.36202074 234.81.84339156

Š April 2014

ABOUT SPACES FOR CHANGE.S4C Spaces for Change (S4C) is a non-profit organization working to infuse human rights into social and economic governance processes in Nigeria. Through crowdsourcing, research, policy analysis, advocacy, youth engagement, public interest litigation and community action, the organization aims to increase the participation of Nigerian youth, women and marginalized constituencies in social and economic development, and also help public authorities and corporate entities to put a human rights approach at the heart of their decision-making. 1|Page

National Conference and Us!


NATIONAL CONFERENCE & US! At Spaces for Change.S4C, crowd-sourcing – research questions, policy answers, public opinion and statistical data – is a buzzword. S4C has increasingly built capacity and gained reputation for promoting enhanced public engagement in democratic problemsolving using digital technology. Saturday, March 29, 2014 e-conference, “National Conference and Us” once again presented another unique opportunity to use crowd sourcing techniques and internetbased tools to solicit ideas, valuable information and input from over 6,700 members of Spaces for Change’s Discussion Forum who want their voices and matters that affect them to be heard at the ongoing national conference. Three lead discussants who are also delegates representing various interest groups in the ongoing national conference were there to listen to them and interact with the large group of young Nigerians in a new and dynamic way. The two conference moderators, three lead discussants and thousands of participants congregated on Spaces for Change’s discussion portal on Facebook social networking site - https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacesforchange/ - at 4. p.m. They all connected to the discussion forum from their respective abodes across Nigeria and abroad, using any preferred digital device in order to take active part in the 194 comments-long online conversation. In the first hour, the lead discussants responded to questions collated from diverse constituencies, interest groups including those compiled from two dedicated pre-conference web sessions. The remaining one and half hours featured a no-holds-barred learning exchange and stimulating debates between participants and the lead discussants, providing new points of access into the political system, creating new possibilities for collective action and organizational linkage across distances. That two-and-half-hour e-conference which brought together more than 6,700 members of Spaces for Change’s and the delegates to the national conference “under one roof” did not just signal an overturning of the political apathy among the younger generation, but also reflected the growing appetite for genuine democratic change. Several others joined the e-conference discussion on Twitter, rigorously following the instant updates on the bespoke #S4Cconfab hashtag. The robust participation of young citizens in the web-conference and the array of critical national issues discussed and questions raised compellingly demonstrate that an opportunity exists to take a fundamentally different approach to public engagement. This report summarizes the e-conference proceedings, detailing the questions asked and the responses given in their authors’ own words. We are grateful to the conference moderators Bucky Hassan and Judith Mbah, the lead discussants, all members of Spaces for Change, local and international observers, and a host of volunteers who contributed to the overall success of the e-conference. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri Executive Director

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About the Lead Discussants Peter Esele is the immediate past president of the Nigerian Trade Union Congress. Between 2006-2008, he was the president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). He also served as a member of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Redrafting Committee inaugurated in January 2012 by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison Madueke. Ledum Mitee is the current chair of the National Extractive Industries Initiative (NEITI). The Ogoni-born activist has in addition to running a successful law firm in Port Harcourt, served as lecturer in business law in Sokoto State Polytechnic in 1981. He has served in various national and state level capacities, and is among the leaders of the campaign for environmental justice in the Niger Delta. Jaye Gaskia is a radical political activist and chairman of United Action for Democracy. He is a consultant on conflict transformation, human and food security and governance. He is a marxist and revolutionary by political inclination; organiser and mobiliser; an organic intellectual who has consistently raised the social action consciousness of Nigerians through his writings and political activism. He has headed several national and international development institutions including the Joint Action Front, which played a key role in mobilizing Nigerians during the fuel subsidy crisis in 2012. Nwagwu Ezenwa Samson is the coordinator of Partners for Electoral Reform and has for many years, been engaged in electoral reform and accountability, justice and development-related engagement in Nigeria

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Soundbites from the Conference

 The conference proceeds from the assumption that we all want to live together

but there are questions about the “how”.

 The time spent so far on the rules of procedure is quite ok. The rules being at the core of the decision making processes of the conference, it deserves such time and energy. In Bolivia it took a similar assembly 3 months to agree on the rules of procedure.  On the issue of youths, it seems to me that what is required is not necessarily

just focusing on "youths" to be given positions, but creating a polity that every Nigerian child should have a guaranteed future. When every child is entitled to protection of his/ her future through education, health, gainful employment or social welfare, then we would have created a youth-centric nation.

 The issue of religion that should be addressed is the withdrawal of ALL government funding from religious activities, be it donations, pilgrimages, prayers before official functions. Religion should be a purely private as ours is a secular state, or supposedly so. – Ledum Mitee  Nigeria's unity and the basis for that unity are being discussed on a daily basis

on the streets and a conference such as this should discuss it. In this sense, the conference should serve as a platform for beginning the process of renegotiating the basis for this unity.

 I believe firmly in devolved and democratized power. I believe that the current

structure concentrates too much unaccountable power in a few centers. We need the kind of federal structure can unlock the potential of each of the federating units; where the federating units are responsible for superintending the productive activity of the citizens and the economy, and where because they are responsible for generating income. I am in support of the kind of fiscal relationship we had during the first republic; 50% of collected revenue was retained by the federating unit; 30% went into a common distributable pool that helps to ensure that no federating unit is hamstrung by lack of resources; and 20% to a federal center whose duties and responsibilities are significantly reduced and concentrated. – Jaye Gaskia

 I am not a strong believer in affirmative action. For me it's like breaking the

cocoon of a butterfly. If the butterfly is allowed to go through its natural process of forcing itself out of the cocoon, we are always amazed of its sleek and beauty. The youth must organize and mobilize to be heard. At the end of the day, our destiny is determined by the sacrifice we are willing to pay for our beliefs, and not by handouts. – Peter Esele

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Summary of Conference Proceedings Federalism, resource control, regional governance, youth and democratic participation, social security for all citizens, citizenship, religion and national security are the key issues that dominated the e-conference discussions, provoking more nuanced debates of important civic issues. It was an also an opportunity to vent freely and reopen past wounds that have hardly healed, towards locating mutual grounds of reconciliation and understanding. For instance, some took advantage of the presence of Peter Esele and Jaye Gaskia – both of whom played leading roles in negotiating the fuel subsidy fiasco which triggered a nationwide uprising in January 2012 – to address unresolved citizenstate contentions that continue to fuel anger and mistrust towards the labour movement. The high point of the conversation was the identification of key decision points and the gathering of informed public opinion on those decision points, with inputs from as many different perspectives as possible. The conference also provided a space for citizens and advocacy organizations to interact with each other and begin the necessary steps towards building a public consensus on priority issues that need urgent consideration. Using social media advocacy techniques to advance public participation in governance is based upon an understanding that the 21st-century communications technology has the potential to expand the frontiers of citizen engagement, allowing everybody to have an opportunity to be heard, and to influence peers and people in positions of power and to improve their own lives. Proceeding upon this premise, the decision points identified and discussed in this conference will inform the content of the memoranda that will be submitted to various committees of the national conference, and consolidate S4C’s continuing efforts to strengthen the connection between citizens and government. Issues discussed are categorized into the following broad themes:             

National Conference Voting and Decision-Making Procedures: Federalism/Regional Governance/Resource Control Addressing Youth Unemployment, Youth Participation in Democracy through Affirmative Action Priority Engagement Areas for the National Conference Education Fuel Subsidy (Occupy Nigeria Protests) Stakeholder Representation Citizenship/Indigene-Settler Crisis/Deportation Local Government Autonomy Religion Fulani Herdsmen/ National Security Labour and Social Security 2015 General Elections

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National Conference Voting and Decision-Making Procedures Less than 48 hours after inauguration, the conference was forced to adjourn so that they could agree on some technical issues. Do you see early resolution of those issues? How much cohesion and negotiations would be seen between intra groups (e.g within CSOs) and inter groups considering the suspicion which forced an early adjournment?1 And regarding the need to talk and decide how we want to live together, is the75% majority vote constitutional2? So many committees and panels have been set up at various times in this country. Regrettably, most of the time, the decisions reached are not implemented. How do we ensure that the resolutions of this national conference are implemented3?

Ledum Mitee: The time spent so far on the rules of procedure is quite ok. The rules being at the core of the decision making processes of the conference deserve such time and energy. In Bolivia, it took a similar assembly 3 months to agree on the rules of procedure. Be that as it may, as a member of the committee of 50 set up to find means to resolve the issue, I can say with some confidence that we have reached some conclusion that can hopefully help the plenary The conference proceeds from resolve the issue. the assumption that we all want to live together, but there are On the second question, I think the whole questions about the “how”. essence of the conversation is to proffer - Ledum Mitee recommendations on the rules of our relationship which is how we should live together. The conference proceeds from the assumption that we all want to live together, but there are questions about the “how”. What should be the federating units and what powers should they have vis-à-vis the centre? As someone who has experienced the dire examples of the state and citizens relationship, I would think that an important component of the conversation is the extent of powers of the state vis-à-vis the rights of citizens. That will go into the components of our social contract which in my view should be enforceable rights. Jaye Gaskia: On the first question, it is logical and to be expected that the first two weeks of such a conference will be spent setting out and agreeing on the agenda as well as attending to operational and technical challenges. I expect that once the conference goes into committee work, a lot of ground will be covered.

1 Question by Dayo Olaide, Abuja, Nigeria. 2 Question by Kelechi Deca, Lagos, Nigeria 3 Question submitted by Faisal Saleh Dankishiya, Sabon-gari, Kano State

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Nigeria's unity and the basis for that unity are discussed on a daily basis on the streets, and a conference such as this should discuss it. In this sense, the conference should serve as a platform for beginning the process of renegotiating the basis for this unity. There have been quite a number of views expressed on the voting issue. First as a general rule, if the conference resolutions are to have wide and popular acceptance for their implementation, then it is important to have a broad base for making the decisions possible. Having said this, it is important to also say that given the contentious nature of most of the fundamental issues that confront us, raising the bar too high will simply amount to putting a barrier on change. It is in this sense that it can become a defense of the status quo, and a vote against change. This is why some of us believe that a twothirds majority is high enough a bar.

 Nigeria's unity and the basis for that unity are discussed on a daily basis on the streets, and a conference such as this should discuss it. In this sense, the conference should serve as a platform for beginning the process of renegotiating the basis for this unity.

Jaye Gaskia



Peter Esele: It is important that these points are resolved. They are the foundation upon which the CONFAB will be built on. There are various intra-group meetings going on. One is named Pan-Nigeria. To make headway, we are going to need a whole lot of people staying in the middle cause. With all the consultation going on, there will be progress. Federalism | Regional Governance |Resource Control What are your thoughts about the current federal structure vis-a-vis a regional structure and system of governance4? Can we go back to a truly federal system with regional powers like we did in the first republic?5 The 2005 constitutional conference was stalled because the south-south delegates staged a walkout, insisting on a minimum of 50 percent derivation. Also, they canvassed to control the petroleum resources in their region.6 Would the confab consider the suggestion of instituting an 8-10 year plan of phased reduction of the current allocation structure and dependence on oil resources? Such a plan would involve a percentage reduction in allocation yearly with the states where the resources are found getting more as the years go by.7 Let each region/state control the resources within their domain and contribute a percentage to the center. Make the center less attractive. Concentrate power more in the regions or federating state. Nigeria thrived better with this arrangement in the first republic and the development witnessed in all the regions has never been surpassed ever since8. Can we achieve this?

4 Question by Bucky Hassan, London, United Kingdom 5 6 7 8

Question Question Question Question

submitted submitted submitted submitted

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by by by by

Kay Lord, Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria Nwobodo-Ogbonna Innocent Oluchukwu IlemonaOnoja, Abuja, Nigeria Jose MourinhoAgwuncha, Onitsha, Anambra State

National Conference and Us!


The current structure concentrates too much unaccountable power in a few centers. We need the kind of federal structure that can unlock the potential of each of the federating units; where the federating units are responsible for superintending the productive activity of the citizens and the economy, and where they are responsible for generating income. The federating units will be the first line in revenue collection, and retain the bulk of the revenue so collected. I am in support of the kind of fiscal relationship we had during the first republic; 50% of collected revenue was retained by the federating unit; 30% went into a common distributable pool that helps to ensure that no federating unit is hamstrung by lack of resources; and 20% to a federal center whose duties and responsibilities are significantly reduced and concentrated. - Jaye Gaskia

Jaye Gaskia: I believe firmly in devolved and democratized power. The current structure concentrates too much unaccountable power in a few centers. We need the kind of federal structure that can unlock the potential of each of the federating units; where the federating units are responsible for superintending the productive activity of the citizens and the economy, and where they are responsible for generating income. The federating units will be the first line in revenue collection, and retain the bulk of the revenue so collected. I am in support of the kind of fiscal relationship we had during the first republic; 50% of collected revenue was retained by the federating unit; 30% went into a common distributable pool that helps to ensure that no federating unit is hamstrung by lack of resources; and 20% to a federal center whose duties and responsibilities are significantly reduced and concentrated. Resource control is on the agenda of this conference and it will be discussed. What I think ought to be done is to combine it with the issue of fiscal federalism and political restructuring. It is only when they are taken together that appropriate compromises can be made and consensus built. Ledum Mitee I boldly state that the much deserved increase to areas afflicted by extractive resource extraction should be carefully tailored to target the real victims, and not to merely give more resources to the governors of these states for their misuse. Extractive resource environmental, economic and social remediation could be some ideas. Youth Participation in Democracy|Affirmative Action In view of the NIS recruitment process which helped highlight the youth unemployment problem, will the confab discuss plans to revamp agriculture which used to be a major source of revenue in Nigeria and job creation9? Is it possible to have affirmative action for youth representation in all elective positions? If left unchecked, Nigeria’s political leadership will continue to be piloted by the septuagenarians, octogenarians and the Mugabes of Nigeria politics. The youth do not have the clout and resources to challenge these elderly people who have repeatedly failed to deliver. Can Nigeria have at least, affirmative action that allows 25% representation of persons under 40 in all elective positions10?

9

Question submitted by Adaeze Ifechukwu Goziem-Ibonye, London, United Kingdom 10 Question submitted by Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Lagos, Nigeria

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Jaye Gaskia: One issue this conference must deal with is the question of rights; of the duties and obligations of the state; of the responsibility of citizens. The most significant thing that can be done will be to address the question of a social charter; the question of a comprehensive bill of rights that will be justiciable and enforceable. In this context, therefore affirmative action deliberately driven by policy and legislation will be required for all excluded groups. Yes, affirmative action that is enforceable for youth and women representation must be an integral part of this social charter. YOUTH Governments at all levels would be held to account regarding the realization of the social charter and should One issue this conference be required to annually address steps being taken to must deal with is the question realize the social charter in annual state of the union of rights; of the duties and accountability addresses. obligations of the state; of the responsibility of citizens. Ledum Mitee: On the issue of youths, it seems to me that what is required is not necessarily just focusing on Jaye Gaskia "youths" to be given positions, but creating a polity that ……………………… every Nigerian child should have a guaranteed future. When every child is entitled to protection of his/ her What is required is not future through education, health, gainful employment or necessarily just focusing on social welfare, then we would have created a youth"youths" to be given positions, centric nation. We have seen those falling into the youth but creating a polity that bracket assuming positions of responsibility but doing every Nigerian child should nothing to protect the general future of youths. have a guaranteed future. When every child is entitled to There is no country in the world, more so those with protection of his/ her future heterogeneous groups, that does not use affirmative through education, health , action at some point or the other. A country that has gainful employment or social been erected on the quick sands of injustice cannot do welfare, then we would have without some form of affirmative action. created a youth-centric nation. Peter Esele: I am not a strong believer in affirmative Ledum Mitee action. For me it's like breaking the cocoon of a butterfly. …………………… If the butterfly is allowed to go through its natural process of forcing itself out of the cocoon, we are always The youth must organize and amazed by its sleek and beauty. The youth must mobilize to be heard. At the organize and mobilize to be heard. At the end of the day, end of the day, our destiny is our destiny is determined by the sacrifice we are willing determined by the sacrifice to pay for our beliefs, and not by handouts. we are willing to pay for our beliefs, and not by handouts. People like Ledum Mitee became what they are today, not because they were given handouts as youth. He Peter Esele went through the furnace which has made him a better person for himself and his country.

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

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Jaye Gaskia: I do believe that affirmative action is necessary and important; but I do believe that it must be

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time bound and contingent on clearly laid out action plans to ensure that the situation making affirmative action necessary is addressed within the time frame; and governments should be held accountable for ensuring that this action plan is constantly reviewed and is implemented realistically within the time frame. There can be no such thing as permanent affirmative action for any specific issue, otherwise, it will only amount to a clever way of maintaining the marginalization of others. Stakeholder Representation Some groups and political parties did not send any delegates to the confab. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has also pulled out of the confab. Did the confab leadership make any effort to assuage these aggrieved groups? How impactful will the conference be without the participation of such critical stakeholders?'

Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan has attended several official engagements abroad, connecting with Nigerians in the Diaspora. And there seems to be no strong presence of this group of Nigerians in the confab11. Jaye Gaskia Regarding the absence of the representatives of some political parties in the national conference, the merged opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC) did not send any official party delegation. However, the party is very strongly represented with many of its national leaders coming in through other platforms and with all of its state governors sending representation from their states. As for the NBA, one of the ways their concerns can be addressed is by discussing with the body to have it provide a team of legal experts to service the conference and various committee secretariats. As it is, even though NBA was to have just one delegate, the number of lawyers` and even senior advocates (SANs) who are delegates on other platforms is quite astonishing. Of the civil society delegation of 24, not less than 6 are lawyers and active members of NBA. Peter Esele The NBA decision not to send any delegate to the conference was in protest against their single delegate representation. Unfortunately, this is beyond the purview of the conference leadership. Elections How do we restructure INEC to conducts elections impartially? Isn’t it curious that when we have smart phones and tablets that can do just about anything, but yet, we cannot vote digitally? Does the nomination of INEC chairman and commissioner not skew the odds in favour an incumbent who appoints them12?

11 Question submitted by Okechukwu Rich Okorie, Aba, Abia State 12 Question submitted by Ilemona Onoja, Abuja Nigeria

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Jaye Gaskia If, for instance, a social charter is adopted that guarantees the right to functional qualitative education and healthcare; the right to work, and the right to affordable housing, then it will be part of the responsibilities of governments at the three levels to work out the full details of how to achieve these knowing fully well that these rights are actionable, enforceable and justiciable. It will also now be our bounden duty as citizens to ensure that these are the basis on which we now engage with political parties, the political process and elections - on the basis of how realistic the plans for achieving these rights are, or on the basis of the proven capacity of parties and or their candidates to achieve this. In this sense, this conference should also be setting agenda for our polity and the coming elections. Priority Engagement Areas for the National Conference 

Diversification of the economy: Any attempts to discuss how to harness our natural resources and whittle down the dependence on oil13?

Elections: 2015 general elections will be extremely important for Nigeria. How do we ensure that no voters are disenfranchised? Do you agree with this question/viewpoint: “Going digital is a viable option as it may address the entrenched thuggery component of our electoral practice? But this is capable of disenfranchising many who do not have access to internet access and digital devices. Also, the prosecution of electoral defaulters is hardly achievable with the corrupt trend in the judicial community14”.

Power Generation: Poor power supply is probably Nigeria's greatest holdback at the moment. What is the plan towards achieving constant power supply, as a catalyst for the betterment of education and quality health care? Even the digitization of electoral data and voter registration activities is not possible without adequate supply of power15. Will any of the conference committees consider this issue?

Four major areas that must be seriously looked into include: (1) Housing (2) Adequate funding for primary health care. (3) Agriculture (4) Empowerment plan for the youth that will create jobs and lead to direct employment16.

Jaye Gaskia The conference will not be able to deal with quite a number of issues and will very likely not be able to delve into detailed policy papers on how each thing must be achieved, otherwise it would not be able to achieve anything. The conference will focus on a few priorities indicated in the committees' Terms of Reference (TORs) which would be shared during next week with the public.

13 14 15 16

Question Question Question Question

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submitted submitted submitted submitted

by Jose MourinhoIfeanyiAgwuncha, Onitsha, Anambra State by Nsikan-George Emana, Bonn, Germany by AdaezeIfechukwuGoziem-Ibonye by Wale Edun, Ibadan, Oyo State

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The opportunity of the call for memorandum can also be seized by citizens to comment on issues and introduce or direct attention to priority issues.

There will be one of the conference committees looking at issues around the Jaye Gaskia economy, environment and energy. Nevertheless, conference delegates and or delegations also have the opportunity of sponsoring motions on what should be discussed. For instance, the civil society delegation is considering approaching the labour and other delegations to jointly sponsor some motions. The opportunity of the call for memorandum can also be seized by citizens to comment on issues and introduce or direct attention to priority issues. Education

The dichotomy and discrimination between HND and BSC certificates need to be addressed once and for all. Is this one of the priority issues that will be discussed at the national conference17? What is the plan to expand the access of all Nigerian children to education from nursery to secondary schools, with well-equipped institutions and teachers? Teachers should be statutorily required to receive in-service trainings twice each year18. Nigeria needs to set minimum requirements in terms of educational qualification and clearly defined academic background for persons that should be appointed as commissioners and ministers for education. That position should never be used to gratify or reward "anyhow" politicians for their loyalty19. I don't know if it is within the power of this conference to decide on the future of our educational system. Should you not advocate for universal free education at least up to the secondary level; and provide a low (or no) interest loans to citizens to pursue postsecondary education as it is practiced in other climes?20 Ledum Mitee On the issue of dichotomy between certificates, it seems to me that once we deal critically with the issue of boldly stamping out , not just by lip service, all forms of discrimination, then those and other discriminations would be taken care of. When I was a member of the Belgore committee, I initiated within that platform a Whistle Blowers Bill and an Ethics and Ethical practices Bill. I still believe that some of the nuances intended to be checked by those initiatives would also help in creating more tools for fighting corruption. Since the submission of that report, the most interesting use to which it has been commendably put is that they form part of the working papers for this conference.

17 18 19 20

Question Question Question Question

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submitted submitted submitted submitted

by by by by

Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Lagos, Nigeria Adaeze IfechukwuGoziem-Ibonye, London, United Kingdom Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Lagos, Nigeria Faisal Saleh Dankishiya, SabonGari, Kano State

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Religion The first issue that made headlines from the conference was an argument over religious chants from the conference. Indeed religion, tribe, and region have been critical issues always breeding conflicts that threaten our existence as one nation. Please, how do you think these key issues can be thoroughly addressed in order to bring us back on the path of lasting peace? Is it possible for every religion, region, and/or tribe to be satisfactorily addressed at the conference to thrash the issues that constantly seek to disintegrate the nation21? Ledum Mitee The issue of religious chants was never an issue at this inference to the best of my recollection. Here, we have to distinguish between a comment by There should be withdrawal of all a member and issues raised by delegates. government funding from For me, the issue of religion that should be religious activities, be it addressed is the withdrawal of all donations, pilgrimages, prayers government funding from religious before official functions. activities, be it donations, pilgrimages, prayers before official functions which - Ledum Mitee in our country has been taken to the ridiculous extent of multiple prayers, religious services/prayers at government offices etc. Religion should be a purely private as ours is a secular state, or supposedly so. Labour |Social Security What measures are going to be put in place to ensure private businesses adhere to the minimum wage?22 A fund should be set up to take care of unemployed people. States must ensure that every retiring civil servant must have an accommodation within his or her cadre to settle to, once he or she retires from public service. This will help to stem to a reasonable extent, the greed to acquire wealth illegally23. 1. We need to create a national social security safety net for all Nigerians? There are many ways to fund this: tax on private jets, transfer of petroleum subsidy to social security fund, tax on imported consumption. 2. Can we adopt the Brazilian example and dedicate 100% of oil and gas royalties to education? To fund voucher program to enable any Nigerian attend any school and use the royalties to pay school fees? 3. Land Use Act: Can we scrap the land use policy or remove it from the constitution so states can amend their land laws to suit their needs24. Question submitted by Ilemona Onoja, Abuja, Nigeria 22 Question submitted by FunkeTega Phillips, Surulere, Lagos 23 Question submitted by GbengaBolejo-ojo 24 Questions submitted by Kalu Aja, Port Harcourt, Rivers State 21

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Jaye Gaskia On the minimum wage and other issues; again it comes back to the question of enforceable legislations, with very strict penalties and punishments, and with an active citizenship able to take advantage of the favourable environment. Ledum Mitee I will always cast my lot with any suggestion about social security, the lack of which helps to provide recruitment environment for insurrection and militancy, in my view. When the national security threatens the security of the citizens, social dislocation occurs. Hence, the new trend nowadays in tackling threats to national security is to balance the hard power of militarist approach to combating terrorism with the soft power of social security. Hence, the Americans would drop bombs as well as food in Afghanistan. Local Government Autonomy What are your plans towards advocating for and achieving autonomy for local governments? Is this part of the conference agenda25? Ledum Mitee There is strength in the argument for autonomy over some areas of competencies for local governments. The question that naturally follows here is which local government (s)? Is it the ones created to give some fiscal fiefdoms to some interests or persons of influence? The whole issue has to be decided on the larger question of restructuring and devolution of powers. You know that although Nigeria professes to be operating a federal system, Britain that is a known unitary system devolves more powers to local authorities than states in Nigeria, in some instances. The present structure was more or less on the basis of how to get more shares from the center than any deliberate response to local needs. Citizenship | Indigene-Settler Crisis | Deportation Recently, Nigerians were deported from certain states of the federation on account of their being destitute and not from those states. In fact, at least 8 - 10 States in the nation have been involved in deporting citizens living in their states back to their so-called states of origin. How do we resolve this?26 This was in clear violation of the rights of residents as guaranteed by the constitution. What plans do you have to resolve this indigene/settler crisis so that no one will be a second class citizen in Nigeria anymore? 27

25 Question submitted by IlemonaOnoja 26 Question submitted by Bucky Hassan, London, United Kingdom 27 Question submitted by IlemonaOnoja

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Jaye Gaskia The question of the nature of citizenship of Nigeria is very important, and it will be addressed in the conference. Our thinking is that there should be only one single citizenship for all Nigerians. The issue of indigeneship should be expunged from our public and political life. It is absurd that Nigerian citizens are deported from one part of the country to another. There should be sanctions for such anti-Nigeria practices. Where representation is the issue, the only qualification on a common citizenship should be residency. One must have been continuously resident in any area for sometime to be qualified to represent the people of such area. Fuel Subsidy (Occupy Nigeria Protests) Mr Esele, quite a number of people believe you let down the country regarding the fuel subsidy negotiations and protests in 2012. 28 For a very long time, many of us had dreamt of a protest that would unite the entire country and bring those in authority to the table. No Nigerian wanted a change of government, but we believe the labour movement should have listened more when it was clear the demonstrators on the street were not happy with the negotiations.29 Do you believe that both the Labour movement and Nigerians have learnt from what happened in 2012? If another spontaneous movement ever springs up, what would the negotiators do differently?30 Peter Esele: How did I betray the Occupy Nigeria protests? I am a dues-paying member of Trade Union Congress (TUC). If you trust us enough to join the strike when you are likely not our member, I think you should give our various decision making organs the benefit of the doubt. It is the responsibility of a leader to define reality. We have to be pragmatic. Labour cannot lead a revolution. It can support and finish it. It is not possible for it to play all 3 stages of a revolution. Secondly, you cannot change a democratically-elected government by not having alternative - you create chaos. We did what we know was best for our congress and country. Looking back I am happy with what we did. Egypt, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine are some sad examples. Jaye Gaskia It is important to be clear that no responsible leadership will make demands and lead public actions in pursuit of those demands and then refuse to negotiate with those to whom the demands have been addressed. So this is important, negotiation was already inherent in that particular crisis. The other issue is, however, the nature of negotiation and of the negotiating blocs. There was agreement on making the demand, but not much agreement on the limits of the action needed to pursue the demand.

28 Question submitted by IlemonaOnoja, Abuja, Nigeria | Funke Tega-Phillips, Lagos, Nigeria 29 Question submitted by Bucky Hassan, London, United Kingdom 30 Question submitted by Bucky Hassan, London, United Kingdom

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Most importantly, we have all learnt lessons. We had a coalition: a labour - civil society coalition [which we are trying to rebuild taking advantage of the necessity to collaborate during this conference]. Although we had different expectations from the uprising and concluded an agreement on a minimum demand agenda, we did not have the time to deal with the broader issues of the potential and the trajectory of the uprising. So at the critical moment, it was not surprising we took different parts. I was together with Peter and other labour and civil society leaders in the leadership of the uprising and in the negotiating team of labour and civil society. We responded to the pressures coming from our different constituencies and structures differently. Fulani Herdsmen | National Security Do you plan to discuss the issues of Fulani herdsmen and the current issues trailing their grazing rights? Is there any plan to further a cause for the establishment of a national grazing reserve as a means to resolving this issue and solving the insecurity challenges that currently trail their activities?31Does the conference intend to discuss the indiscriminate grazing of livestock on arable lands across the nation, thereby generating conflict practically everywhere they (Fulani herdsmen) are found? Massive killing is currently going on in Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna and other axis. Just last week almost 120 (among whom are women and children) were killed in Southern Kaduna alone. Will these issues of national security be discussed at the conference?32 Jaye Gaskia National security, conflict resolution and peace building are on the agenda of the conference, and so are issues around boundary adjustment. So, yes we plan to raise and address issues that have enabled conflicts across the country and undermined peaceful co-existence. Important among these are poverty, homelessness, joblessness, and a lack of access to secure livelihoods. These have combined to turn idle, impoverished and hungry citizens into very angry individuals with no sense of appreciation of any loyalty to any National security, conflict collective. It is these conditions that have resolution and peace building transformed ordinary citizens into political cannon fodders in the hands of political are on the agenda of the jobbers and conflict entrepreneurs. conference, and so are issues

around boundary adjustment.

Yes. We need to raise and address these Jaye Gaskia issues, and we need to see all the interwoven components of the crisis - the antagonistic competitive livelihoods systems between herdsmen and sedantry farmers, heightened by the impact of climate change, and compounded by the meddlesomeness of politicians. So we shall have to isolate the criminal aspects from the livelihoods aspects. Everywhere in the world where there are nomadic herdsmen and sedantry farmers co-existing, there has always been potentially conflictual competition for access to grazing land and water for both farmers and herdsmen. 31 Question submitted by IlemonaOnoja, Abuja, Nigeria 32 Question submitted by BuhariDanboyi , Kaduna, Kaduna State

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VIEW THE CONVERSATION

The full thread of the E-Conference, National Conference and Us, can be viewed via the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacesforchange/permalink/618460578235711/

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NATIONAL CONFERENCE & US: Report of e-conference proceedings  

This report summarizes the e-conference proceedings, detailing the questions asked and the responses given in their authors’ own words.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE & US: Report of e-conference proceedings  

This report summarizes the e-conference proceedings, detailing the questions asked and the responses given in their authors’ own words.

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