The Patriots enlists Gowon, Shagari, others to lead agitation for Confab

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By Ekene Okoro/Lagos

 The Patriots, a group in the forefront of the clamour for convening a National Conference, has enlisted 11 eminent Nigerians to lead the agitation for the conference.

They believe only the conference will chart a new course for the country.

Among those listed are former military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, former civilian President, Shehu Shagari, and retired Supreme Court Justice, Chukwudifu Oputa.

Others are Alhaji Ali Mongono, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, Professor Alele Williams, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Justice Karibi Whyte.

The group in a letter to the enlisted personalities tagged, ‘Fathers of the Nation,’ and signed by one of its arrowheads, Professor Ben Nwabueze, called on them to lend their voices and appeal to the Presidency and members of the National Assembly to yield to the call for a national conference.

According to the letter, “A National Conference will enable Nigerians from across ethnic and religious groups to deliberate and agree on the terms and conditions on which they are to live together in peace and unity.”

The group also emphasised that it would help “to work out a programme for ensuring development, progress, justice, equality and freedom for all Nigerians, and to adopt a Constitution whose source of authority, as the supreme law of the land, is the people, acting in a Constituent Assembly (i.e. National Conference) and a referendum, otherwise called a People’s Constitution.”

The Patriots also urged the ‘Fathers of the Nation’ to prevail on “political parties, the aspirants to elective political offices, and the political class generally that there should be no elections in 2015 unless a National Conference is first convened and held.”

They opined that judging by the trend of events in the country and by the nature and character of the political campaigns already being mounted for the 2015 elections “any attempt to hold the elections without first convening and holding the National Conference will spell disaster and anarchy for the country.”

The group hinged its submission on the fact that “political mobilisation of the electorate at this time more than two years to the date of the elections and the preoccupation of the political aspirants with the campaigns would assuredly compromise and undermine the ability of the President to mobilise the people for national transformation.”