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Independence: CAN issues 10-point agenda for peace, unity, progress

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The Christian Association of Nigeria has issued a ten-point recipe for the restoration of peace, unity and progress in Nigeria.

The recipe is contained in a statement signed by the president of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary holding on October 1, 2020.

Among other things, CAN urged the federal government to overhaul the security architecture of the nation, improve the economic situation and  ensure a free and fair electoral process.

The statement reads in part:

“This nation is blessed with human and material resources, let us engage them for our general good. As we begin the journey of another decade, we must adjust our strategy or remain where we are now, God forbid. When we are celebrating Nigeria at 70, I pray we would have better Nigeria to celebrate in Jesus’ name.

“While both the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Church in the country will not cease praying for our leaders for divine guidance, wisdom and integrity, we are calling on our governments at all levels to consider the following if truly they are not paying lip service to the peace, unity and progress of the country:

“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 pay 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 template to guide 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 teaming 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 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.”