Agenda for Nigeria’s Shadow Parliament in New York

Last week the 1992 list of Shadow Cabinet members drawn by the New Nigeria Youth Movement raised a lot of dust. People continued to send me nomination of likely members for the proposed new Shadow Cabinet to be drawn and ratified by the Youth body billed to meet last week in Port Harcourt. What they did not appear to understand is that I have no powers to draw, ratify or even announce such a list at the present time. In 1992, I was given such a mandate but not today. First of all I am no longer a 'youth' or a nominal member of the body although I remain a patron. I may be one of the strongest advocates of this strategy and also interested in its continuity by helping to weave a democratic platform for the youths and patrons to choose another Shadow Cabinet in line with the goals of the body, but I cannot go beyond my mandate in this regard.

There had been unforeseen challenges arising over our decision to meet in Port Harcourt for the above purpose. First, we were been unable to form a quorum of the outgoing executive council of patrons as provided for in the constitution. We needed to do a proper hand over to the new executive in this meeting. Aside from three of us the other six members are resident abroad and have cited security considerations in cancelling their flights to Port Harcourt. Some of them mourned the political instability arising from not being sure of who is in charge in Nigeria right now. The other two that managed to reach Lagos were discouraged by stories of armed robbery menace along Benin-Onitsha road where it was reported earlier that passengers who had no cash on them to surrender to luxury bus bandits were summarily executed by the gang who had ordered the driver at gunpoint to run over them while they laid face down on the expressway. To worsen our plight, someone decided to publish the gory details in full color to dampen everybody and we decided to suspend the meeting in honor of the departed.

However thanks to modern technology we managed to arrive at some decisions. It was clear to all of us that the meeting could not hold in Nigeria under these conditions. Despite the slight setback we agreed there was need to act now to rescue Nigeria from itself. It was then suggested that we should work closely with other Nigerians to achieve this goal. We would be holding future meetings through telephone conferencing awaiting improvements in internal security. It was also decided that we support and call on other Nigerians to support the Prof Wole Soyinka led Save Nigeria Group {SNG} Other members were advised to financially and otherwise give their support also to the Okey Ndibe and co's effort to begin a Nigerian shadow Parliament based in New York. Some of our members who could not make it to Port Harcourt had intimated us that they are already involved in the Shadow Parliament efforts and demanded we channel ratification of the Shadow Cabinet list to this larger and more democratic body. We were all agreed that the present list of nominations we have gathered so far from members here be forwarded to the Speaker of this Parliarment, Mr. Okey Ndibe for the consideration of members after their inauguration. Also to be ratified is the annual budget for both the Parliament and the Cabinet. Nigerians and the international community must be advised on how to support these efforts. Everything must be open, transparent and merit driven, they stressed.

A tentative list of newly nominated names to be forwarded to the parliament without specific portfolios under the Chairmanship of Prof Wole Soyinka includes:

1 Nuhu Ribadu
2. Donald Duke
3. Femi Falana
4 Pastor Tunde Bakare
5 Malam El Rufai
6. Dr Joe Okei - Odumakin
7 Phiip Emeagwali
8 Prof Chinua Achebe
9 Dr Okonjo Iweala
10 Prof Oyibo
!1 Governor Adams Oshimole
12 Prof Tam David West
13 Alhaji Ahmed Joda
14 Dr Julius Nwosu
Finally it was agreed that all well meaning Nigerians be invited to debate the ideal values and structures necessary for establishing the new Nigeria so that it will assist the emergent Cabinet in their working.

Mr. Nworisara, a former Presidential Aspirant wrote in from Port Harcourt. Nigeria.

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Articles by Nwokedi Nworisara