Nigeria @ 60: CAN places 10-point demand on government

by Church Times

The Christian Association of Nigeria has placed a 10-point demand on government at all levels in Nigeria even as the nation celebrates its 60th independence anniversary.

In a message titled, Pursuing the right path to greatness, made available to Church Times, the Christian Body bemoaned the state of the nation.

It, however, expressed hope, that though the nation is on slippery terrain, “it can still get to where we ought to be if we resolve to fix all these problems, once and for all.”

CAN in the message signed by its president, Rev Olasupo Ayokunle expressed confidence that “with the right attitude from both those who are in the position of leadership of our three tiers of government and the led, coupled with God helping us, our tomorrow in Nigeria shall be greater than today.”

The association promised that the Church will not cease praying for “our leaders for divine guidance, wisdom and integrity”

It commended the government, especially, the Presidential Task Force on COVID- 19 headed by Mr. Boss Mustapha for the great effort they put in to flatten the curve of the pandemic. It gave special mention to Lagos State in particular for a job well done on the pandemic.

Before the commendation, however, it placed its ten-point demand on governments at all levels.

The body stated that “if they are not paying lip service to the peace, unity and progress of the country” they should pay attention to the demands.

             The demands include:

  1.   We urge President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to immediately sign the Electoral Bill reform which has been gathering dust on his table since last year. Our elections should be free, fair and credible if we want the governed and other nations to respect our political leaders. Trust is earned not imposed or enforced.

  2.   Our governments should be sensitive to the yearnings and the groaning of the governed. The era of asking the people to tighten their belts while those in power are loosening theirs should stop.

  3.   Both the Federal and State governments must give a sense of belonging to all citizens irrespective of their religious, tribal, and political persuasions. Lopsided appointments in favour of one part of the country at the expense of the other, or in favour of one religion at the expense of the other will only deepen the crises in the polity. This will put paid to those calling for the Balkanisation of the country. And if such a call is unacceptable and unfortunate, then doing what is promoting the agitation must be stopped.

  4.   We call on the government to revisit the 2014 National Conference Report with a view to using it to address some problems militating against the peace and unity of the country. We don’t need another conference if there is a political will to implement the report. It should just be sent to the National Assemblies as a template to guide the legislative process of better repositioning of Nigeria.

  5.   We insist on calling for a total overhauling of the security architecture of the country to inject personnel with fresh ideas that can address all security problems. There’s no doubt that all at the helm of affairs of our security agencies are doing their best but it seems they have nothing new again to tame the monsters of the security challenges. We are sad that both the security agents and the civilians continue to be killed by insurgents.

  6.   There is an urgent need to reduce the cost of governance if our governments are sincere in fixing the economic problems. If it is too late to return to the Parliamentary system, then, we should practise a Presidential system that will not be as expensive as the one we are practising. We may borrow a leaf from Ghana and France in doing this. Why should we be running a system that drains our meagre resources?

  7.   We call for more Job opportunities for our teeming youths in order to reduce the menace of insecurity in the country.

  8.   CAN is calling for the inclusion of the private universities among the educational institutions that are enjoying subvention from the Federal government with a view to reducing the cost of running them. After all the resources that are being used belong to all Nigerians and, Education, like security, is a business of everybody.

  9.  We are also calling on the Federal government to reduce the issue of hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price in order to reduce the economic burden on the masses. We at CAN are monitoring the dialogue between the Federal government and the leadership of labour over the issue.

  10.  That our universities have been under lock and key since March is an ill wind that blows no one any good because of lack of implementation of a previous agreement between the government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). CAN is calling on both the Federal government and the leadership of (ASUU) to return to the table with a view to reopening all universities as COVID-19 pandemic is gradually going away. We should stop toying with the future of our youths if we truly want this country to remain relevant in the comity of nations.

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