NewsReel 25/3/2014: We Must Pray for the Success of 2014 Confab

[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke reports ] – The Word of the LORD says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”  (2 Chronicles 7:14 –New International Version NIV).
“When the upright are in authority, the people rejoice.  But when the wicked are in power, they groan” (Proverbs 29:2-New Living Translation NLT). 

As you have been reading and witnessing the National Conference – aka, 'CONFAB' kicked-off in Abuja on Monday, March 17, 2014.  This is quite a historic time in Nigeria.  Unlike, the previous National Conferences, for instance that of the military dictator, General Abacha era, which was designed to revamp the Constitution and enthrone him a life president or the 2005 Obasanjo CONFAB which was aimed to determine how to divide, distribute and allocate oil revenue as well as add a clause in the Constitution that will allow him to run for 3rd term as civilian president rather than how to fix the structural imbalances of the nation, the 2014 CONFAB initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan seems to be honest and realistic approach to truly resolve the serious challenges and crisis the nation is facing in this dispensation. 

While all the previous National Conferences failed to yield result because of those hidden agendas, the 2014 CONFAB has almost everything on the table—including how the country should be governed, resource control, state creation, etc. except the indivisibility of Nigeria, which all major stakeholders agreed to.  In fact, all the regions have thirty or more items on their 2014 CONFAB document for the dialogue.  The delegates named to the National Conference were impressive as well.  

The 2014 CONFAB is designed to examine the Nigerian nation, which is a union created for the economic and political benefit of her colonial master - Britain.   As you know very well, in the 1900, when the British invaded and conquered the various kingdoms that make up Nigeria today, despite that these kingdoms—Oyo, Bornu, Hausa, Benin, Bonny, Jukun, Idah, Aro and Iboland and other variant group of peoples had profound and deep linguistic, religious, political, social, tribal, and cultural differences; they were forced to merge as one nation for the benefit of their colonial master and power tussle between the British and French in the continent of origins. 

And so, the British created this monstrous nation for their political and economic interest.  Therefore, the peoples of Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Yoruba, Ibo, Ibibio, Ijaw, Kalabari and many other various groups were forced to live together.  And this was done without a well-defined set of core values that addressed national unity, patriotism and parameters to eschew religious bigotry and cultural hegemony among the peoples of this new found nation. And it was simply an experiment as the colonial master called it, which was expected to last for about a century.
The amalgamation of these variant groups has been very problematic and difficult to govern. Since she was granted independence fifty-something years ago, Nigeria has had but only turbulent times of political upheaval, tribal hatred and religious killings that led to unforgettable genocidal civil war in  1967-1970 that decimated about three million lives and left her with so much bitterness, anger, hatred and distrust toward each other. Today, Nigeria is a den of death, of sorrow, sadness, pain, suffering and hopelessness – a lawless and a failed State. “Nigeria has become an embodiment of a degenerate society –a degenerate race of a people” according to the erudite scholar Dr. Joseph Nanyen Garba.   We have simply become "educated fools" borrowing from former military dictator and civilian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. 

For instance, the recent National Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise conducted last Saturday around the nation in which 20 young people perished in stampede and many wounded was due to lack of organization and proper protocol.  This is yet another sign of a lawless nation governed by incapable, incompetent and evil rulers.  NIS job recruitment exercise was a big reap-off and a Ponzi scheme.  Why would 600,000 online applications be sold for about 6,000 vacancies?  Who is even sure NIS has up to six thousand vacancies, a nation with 70 million jobless youth. By the way, the Interior Minister, Abba Moro and other senior NIS leadership along with their cohorts should have been sacked by now. In any decent and civilized nation, such recklessness and incompetence cannot be tolerated.
And so in January, 2014, the amalgamation - that experiment called ‘Nigeria’ expired and the Nigerian State celebrated her centenary with fanfare and pageantry. She even elected a centenary queen and initiated a centenary lottery.  Really!  And now the administration of Goodluck Jonathan has wisely and courageously summed a National dialogue to discuss way forward as one indivisible nation.  The indivisibility of Nigeria is “a no go area,” as he said.  However, every other thing is on table. 

We must pray for the success of the 2014 CONFAB.  I appeal to the delegates as well as the so-called Nigerian stakeholders to work together to ensure the success of 2014 CONFAB. The delegate to this important National Conference must be sincere to address economic injustice, political hooliganism, government corruption, religious bigotry, Boko Haram, youth joblessness, and dilapidated infrastructure  just to name a few as well as lack of coherent national core value system that gives sense of patriotism and empowers the citizens to believe in Nigeria and trust their leaders. If CONFAB fails to address those kinds of incivilities, injustices and the structural imbalances created due to amalgamation and civil war, Nigeria may cease to exist as one nation.

For me, this CONFAB should be a conference for forgiveness, peace and reconciliation.  Without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be order, unity and peace.  It is time for Nigeria to genuinely forgive each other and bury its tumultuous and fractured history and be realistic to share the territory called Nigeria. Without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be unity and peace. The declaration for the end of the war slogan: "No Victor No Vanquished" should be revisited during this year’s national dialogue.  The country cannot move forward as united nation and fulfill her common purpose and destiny if ethnicity, tribalism, religious bigotry, and injustice are not addressed in the 2014 CONFAB.  Nigeria truly needs a national identity that abhors religious bigotry and discourages tribal identity.  

It is my hope and prayer that the delegates will be honest and sincere enough to articulate and speak-up at the National Conference.  This is perhaps Nigeria’s last chance to correct those anomalies and reposition the nation and her people for greatness. 
The CONFAB may yet be President Jonathan’s greatest achievement if it’s done right.
With love & in leadership,
C. K. Ekeke, M.Div., Ph.D. ( Email: ) is a Public Theologian, Writer, and Scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Photo Caption – Map and flag of Nigeria


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