Being the text of address made by Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi, President Project Victory Call Initiative, AKA PVC-NAIJA, to the plenary session of Cross River State House of Assembly, on Thursday, the 1st of August 2019.
Protocols: Mr Speaker sir, RT Hon, Eteng Jonas-Williams, The deputy Speaker, RT Hon Joseph Bassey. The principal officers of this noble assembly. Distinguished representatives of the people; honourable members of this house.
May I, on behalf of all Nigerians desirous of a restructured federation, say a big thank you for given us this audience.
Who We Are:
Project Victory Call Initiative (aka PVC-NAIJA), a non governmental, Advocacy organization with a drive for Political Education across the nation. We interface with the electorates on the need to cross the line of apathy to the side of active political participation and networking towards nation building.
What We Do:
We were actively involved in the last continuous voters registration exercise, encouraging and mobilising Nigerians of voting age to register and obtain their Permanent Voters’ Card. This yielded positive result has many identified with us and signed up for our Community Political Education (CPE) program.
We Are Apolitical:
We are non partisan, but a third force; determined to swing the pendulum of power in favour of the Nigerian masses through voter’s enlightenment and citizen’s right advocacy.
To Create a new Nigeria of credible, responsible and responsive leadership and citizenry.
To enlighten and sensitize the citizenry on their political responsibilities towards election of good leaders and good governance.
Our mission is expressed through four cardinal channels to accomplish specific objective.
1. Re-Think Nigeria: Agenda for Restructuring, this we are championing through our engagement with the legislative arms of Government on the need to urgently restructure Nigeria.
2. Re-Invent Politics; Community Political Education, is our engagement with communities across all social demography, for enlightenment on their rights, privileges and duties in a democracy.
3. Re-Model Leadership; National Undergraduate Political Policies Project Writing Competition, is our way of preparing the next generation for political leadership and governance.
4. Re-Define Governance; Governance Impact Assessment is conducted to evaluate our Governments across all tiers and present an unbiased score cards to the public, who can with the information; make informed decisions devoid of political gimmicks and propaganda.
We are here to explore our 1st channel; the need to rethink and restructured our federation.
Today we stand at the threshold of history for the recovery of our nation’s identity and its “protectorates” called States.
What is a protectorate? A protectorate is a State that is controlled and protected by another.
Before 1914, their existed 3 distinct districts, known as Lagos colony, southern protectorate and the northern protectorate these were running independently of each other under the colonial British Government’s control and protection.
In 1914, the amalgamation of the southern protectorate and northern protectorate stripped Calabar of its significance and prominence and fostered it on Lagos; which gained the capital of the new arrangement at the expense of her identity.
This arrangement was self serving the British Government, and so when the agitation for the independence of Nigeria came to fore ahead of its granting in 1960, the desire to tied the new nation to the aprons of her former colonial master, saw the British Government superintend and superimposed an unwieldy cross purposing self-determination competition between its ethnic nationalities just to maintain a stranglehold over the “independent” nation.
This strange bed fellows con striped arrangement has left our National marriage in conflict for the past 59 years.
Our situation was complicated by the inclusion of the military in Government through the bloody coup of January 1966, the worse will happened through a counter coup, months later in the same year, which spiral out of control and snowballed into an unfortunate civil war, leading to uneven decimation of certain part of the country and this region. Despite the war been over in 1970, this region is yet to heal from its wound and the larger Nigeria space is yet to recover from its pains.
Our independent country went into unending balkanisation under the military regimes, States upon States were created by military fiat, reflective of the self imposed decision of the colonial master against the rules of self determination.
We have had 3 Republics, this third republic been the most enduring since 1999, we are proudly standing today before the 9th Assembly of the people’s representatives in hope of a better and greater Nigeria.
The round peg of democracy is been squeezed through the square hole of a default military document passed down to us for a constitution. So unworkable that a Senator of the Federal Republic, lamented on the floor of the red chamber the frustrations of screwing a round peg through a square hole.
Several attempts were made to change the working of our union through Conferences and dialogues; on the nature and article of our union. Decisions were arrived at and recommendations were made but, the will to do the needful seems to be the bane of our peril in the hands of our political elites.
We need not reel out the travail of a bedeviled nation, with States as mere nomenclature but protectorates in reality. How else do you describe a state where the Governor is the Chief Security Officer of his state but the security of himself and his people is under the control of the Federal state, and his mandate by the constitution to hold State’s land in trust for his people is today been considered for amendment. Our resource control structure is reflective of our colonial days, Our is a country of 36 federating protectorates and not States. There is no federation with our obsolete system of government in the world today.
Nepotism has become the hall mark of national leadership with “national leaders” seeing only through the prism of tribal settlements.
If this will not continue; restructuring alone to our rescue.
What is Restructuring?
Restructuring is the present continuous tense of the word restructure. Restructure been a compound word of the word “re” and the word “structure”.
“re” been a Latin prefix meaning to re do a thing.
A quick search of the word “structure” through Google gave the meaning as: the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.
Ours is no doubt a complex nation of close to 400 ethnic nationalities, and our present structure is sub-optima and failing, we need not wait until it collapses on our head. Time to do something is now.
Mr Speaker and Honourable members of this esteemed house, this is why we are here; to plead and urge you to support the yearnings of over 92 indigenous ethnic nationalities that we have interacted with on the way forward for our country to achieve greatness during the 1st ever Inter-Ethnic Peace Conference, held on the 11th and 12th of July 2019, at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, which I was privileged to serve as a co-mediator.
We stretch to you our hands for fellowship to reunite our ethnic nationalities in a workable nation through Agenda for Restructuring. Hoping you will stand with the people and draw up the agenda for a restructured federation. Do lead the push for it by engaging the Federal Government through the National Assembly.
Mr Speaker sir, and Honourable members of this noble house, the people of Cross River voted for you to protect their interests, this is better achieved through a restructured federation .
PVC-NAIJA is counting of you to sustain this debate and champion the Agenda 4 Restructuring.
Yours in search of a better and greater country.
Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
Project Victory Call Initiative,