This was organized by Igbo Leadership Development Foundation(ILDF) in collaboration with Gregory University Uturu, World Igbo Summit Group, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies and New Generation Leadership Foundation.
1. The Igbo Leadership Development Foundation in collaboration with Gregory University Uturu, World Igbo Summit Group, Centre for Intl Advanced and Professional Studies and New Generation Leadership Foundation organized the Great Debate (national Conversation) for National Unity and Equity on the Theme: Federal Character, Restructuring and Rotation of Presidential Power in Nigeria. It held in Abuja on 5th March 2020.
2. Several regional and national leaders past and present participated. The chairman was Gen. Dr. Yakubu Gowon, PhD, GCFR represented by Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The co-chairman was an elder statesman and onetime presidential liaison, Alh. Tanko Yakassi while the keynote speaker was Prof. Gregory Ibe, Chancellor and founder, Gregory University Uturu. The Conversation was moderated by Prof. Chinedu Nebo, CON and Prof. Udenta O. Udenta.
3. Other distinguished personalities and Speakers at the National conversation were: Prof. Pat Utomi, Chief Yinka Odumakin, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, Prof Anthony Kila, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Dr. Abubakar Manzo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Prof Chinedu Nebo, Ms. Ankio Briggs, Alh. Engr. Mohammed Abba Gana, Chief Stella Odife, Prof. Udenta O. Udenta, Dr. Sam Amadi, Amb. Dr. Humphrey Orjiakor, Amb. Ozo Nwobu, Dr. Sigma Ayati, Prof. Ihechukwu Mabuike, AVM Umerie (Rtd.), Amb. Abdullahi H. Shinkafi, Prof OBC Nwaolise, Dr. Yima Sen, Prof. Madike, Hajia Aisha Aliyu, Barr. Rowland Pereotubo and many others.
4. Several regional and national organizations also participated among which were:
Ohanaeze, Afenifere, PANDEF, Middle Belt Forum, Aka Ikenga, PANPIEC, Igbo Delegates Assembly(19 northern States), Ijaw Youth Council, Benue State Government, African Students Education Support Initiative(ASESI), Students’ Union Government University of Abuja, Oodua Youth Parliament, among others.
5. The National Conversation dispassionately took a critical look at the state of the nation and decried rising insecurity, restiveness and a depressed economy, and called on Government to rise to the existential challenges threatening the nation.
6. The gathering noted that Federal Character principle enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) has been observed mostly in breach in recent times thus defeating the objectives of the containment policy which aims to carry every part of the country along and again called on Government to live up to the spirit and letters of the Constitution.
7. Following some observations that Restructuring as currently canvassed around the country is vague and confusing, the National Conversation redefined and simplified Restructuring to mean returning to the States the powers taken away from old Regions by the successive military governments without necessarily returning the country to Regionalism.
8. Owing to the peculiarity of the Nigerian federation, the gathering upheld rotation of Governor and President, and strongly recommended that it be enshrined in the Constitutions of both by country and political parties.
9. The National Conversation agreed that a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction is desirable in 2023 and advised Ndigbo to build bridges and strategic depth, and push for a pan Nigerian movement for the actualization of Nigeria President of Igbo extraction.
11. The coalition that convoked the National Dialogue was further advised not to allow the Abuja National Conversation to be a one-off but should continue to other zones of the country as a mission for the actualization of Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.
12. The gathering reaffirmed hope in indissoluble and indivisible Nigeria based on equity, fairness and equality of citizens and ethnic nationalities that make up the Nigerian nation-state.
Dr. Godwin I. Udibe
The Great Debate for National Unity and Equity
Dr. Law O. Mefor
Vice Chairman/Director of Public Affairs