Methodological and Structural Problems for Sovereign National Conference in Nigeria

Methodological and Structural Problems for Sovereign National Conference in Nigeria

Author(s) by Ayodeji Bayo Ogunrotifa
Pages 1-18
Keywords Sovereign national conference, methodology, state structure, Nigeria.
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Abstract


For more than two decades, the Nigerian political space has been preoccupied with the clamour for sovereign national conference (SNC), yet previous attempts (either officially or unofficially) at organising the conference has been fraught with legitimacy crisis, problem of reliability, and validity of its findings/recommendations, that always ends in controversial circumstances. These however represent methodological and structural shortcomings that often frustrate the ambitions of the proponents of SNC. This paper fleshes out the methodological and structural problems bedeviling the convocation of SNC by looking through the problematic nature of Nigerian state, various arguments for and against SNC, and history of previous national conferences. It is argued that holding SNC under ideal and normal circumstances is not realistic, given the plethora of conflicting interests among actors, interest groups and political gladiators, ethnic nationalities and the political/ruling class couple along with legal problems, structural bottlenecks and the methodological problem in the choice of delegates, ownership of the conference, national questions, and the definitional and conceptual articulation of issues to be debated. The paper concludes that Nigerians should look beyond the narrow lens and rhetoric behind SNC, as such clamour will further negate the fragility and stability of the country, and instead, Nigerians should agitate and fight for system change that will usher radical alterations in the existing socio-economic and political structure of the state, and rescue the country from the whims and caprices of backward ruling class, greedy and selfish politicians, and those interest groups who either resort to the politics of ethnicity and religion to divide Nigerians whenever their interest in intra-class conflicts is at stake or who employ the rhetoric of SNC to divert the attention of Nigerians from the everyday problems caused by the misrule and mismanagement of national resources and economy by the Nigerian political leadership.

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