NIGERIA: Subject Conference Outcome to National Referendum, Activist Demands

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A reproductive health activist and former Country Director of an international non-governmental organisation, Ipas Nigeria, Dr. Ejike Oji, has suggested that the outcome of the ongoing National Conference be subjected to a national referendum.
Oji told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri on yesterday that a referendum would enable every Nigerian community to participate in charting a new course for the country.
According to him, community participation is key to the success of nations across the globe.
“A national referendum should rubber stamp the outcome of the National Conference, because already, some people are saying that the delegates went on their own business, but with a referendum, the decision would be binding on every Nigerian,’’ he said.
The medical doctor said the best way to resolve an issue was to seat around the table and proffer solutions to matters as they present themselves.
“During the first and second world wars, the generals gave way with their guns and the politicians came and negotiated peace. At every point in life, lasting peace is a question of give and take and it happens around the table and I think the National Conference is a very good way to address the lingering problems in Nigeria,” he stressed.
Oji regretted that in Nigeria, people enjoyed launching attack on leaders even when they did the right thing. “My question is, what is the colour of success in Nigeria that will make every citizen say that somebody is doing well in office?” he asked.
He advised delegates at the conference to focus on such critical issues as entrenching the principles of true federalism, security, education, resource control and enshrining property rights in the nation's constitution.
“If there is property right, every Nigerian and investors coming into the country will know that any day any time, their investment remains and that will bring a lot of confidence into the Nigerian business environment.
“It is regrettable that after the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, certain people were told that their property were abandoned and that is one area that the conference must devote time to address.
“Every part of this country must be given the constitutional backing to grow their economy the best way they want so that others should not be a cog in the wheel of the other,” he emphasised.
On education, he said that the conference should make Nigeria invest huge resources in the sector in order to achieve the desired results, adding: “if education is not given the rightful place, the nation will keep wobbling.
“Education is a vaccine against poverty; it is a vaccine against ignorance and a vaccine against incivility’’, he said.
According to him, Nigeria is currently experiencing a culture of impunity and tyranny, stressing that education could curb such vices.
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