Communiqué issued by The Patriots at its meeting in Lagos on Monday, February 9, 2015.
THE Patriots meeting in Lagos today, 9th February, 2015, noted as follows:
(i) The forthcoming presidential election, scheduled for 14 February, 2015 but now shifted to 28 March, 2015, challenges the Nigerian peoples to prove to themselves and to the world that they are a sovereign people by which is meant a people capable, among other things, of making a wise choice of its rulers, which pre-supposes a well-informed, mature and intelligent appraisal of what the national interest demands and the choice of rulers best calculated to accomplish it.
(ii) Our national interest at this point in time in our history demands:
(a) One, united Nigeria under a Constitution respected and observed by all as the supreme law of the land, overriding all other laws, and as the glue, however weak, holding us together as one polity.
(b) A Constitution anchored on the people as the source of its authority, i.e., a Constitution adopted and approved by the people at a referendum after mature deliberation in a National Conference, Convention or Constituent Assembly.
(c) A constitutional democracy, i.e., a government whose powers are limited by a supreme Constitution and whose principal members are elected in a free, fair and credible elections at periodic intervals of time.
(d) An open, corruption-free government that is responsible and accountable to the people, and is responsive to their needs for security, development and welfare generally, provided the war against corruption is waged with due regard to the law of the Constitution, especially its guarantee of rights.
(e) Free mobility of people throughout the country and full residence rights, unshackled by any laws based on religion or customary observance of sections of the peoples of Nigeria.
The Patriots further noted as follows:
(i) Our national interest demands effective presidential leadership, as a condition of good governance, the lack of which is a major part of our national malaise.
(ii) Effective presidential leadership, such as the country requires at this period of transition, requires a president with good and sound qualification, in a particular good education up to a minimum level of a university first degree or its equivalent, with the academic knowledge, intellectual insights and mental orientation, ideas and perceptions it imparts, as well as a brilliant, acute and creative intellect, and ability to “combine ideas and power, intellectualism and politics.”
Leadership in the present circumstances of Nigeria, as in other African countries, faced with the challenges of transforming their countries into a new society in place of the inherited old colonial society, is not a job for a presidential leader inadequately equipped intellectually, educationally and in terms of other credentials and qualities.
(iii) The President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, had shown a singular courage, which his predecessors could not muster, in convoking and inaugurating a National Conference, although the Conference so convoked and inaugurated was of a kind different from that demanded by The Patriots and others.
There remains, however, the issue of the implementation of the decisions of the Conference, which can only be fully accomplished through a new Peoples Constitution, not by the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
(iv) What the country needs is a social and ethical revolution, led by a president imbued with a revolutionary fervor to change things and create a new and better society.
The Patriots again recall its January 2013 State of the Nation statement in which it drew attention to the growing insecurity of life and property in the country, aggravated by the murderous insurgency of the Muslim fundamentalist group in Northeast Nigeria, known as Boko Haram.
The menace of the insurgency has defied government efforts to end it, largely because it is not just a domestic insurgency, but one sponsored and funded by an international terrorist organization.
The government should not relent in but should intensify its efforts to contain the insurgents.
The Patriots urge the leaders of political parties to ensure that their followers fully observe the non-violence Abuja Accord.
The Patriots also appeal to political parties to henceforth conduct issues-based campaign, informing the people of their programme for economic growth and good governance and improvement of the welfare of the people.
The Patriots appeal to the Military, Police and Security Agencies to demonstrate utmost professionalism and neutrality in the discharge of their duties during and after the elections.
In the light of the extension, The Patriots call on INEC to improve on its logistics and ensure that they are ready for the elections of March 28, and April 11, 2015.