As Nigeria marks 60 years of independence, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Government to take deliberate steps to reposition the country’s economy. CAN called for a reduction in the cost of governance, proposed a revisit to the 2014 National Conference report and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sign the Electoral Bill. The umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria also asked the President to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price. CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who made this known yesterday in Abuja, also urged the Federal Government to include private universities among the educational institutions that were enjoying its subventions.
He insisted that the resources being enjoyed by the beneficiaries belong to all Nigerians and education, like security, was a business of everybody. According to him, the masses were at the receiving end of the nation’s state of the economy which was in shambles, and the naira which has been devalued beyond recognition, and was evident in the high cost of living which, he said, has gone beyond the reach of many Nigerians.
His words: “Our youths are becoming increasingly vulnerable to criminality in the absence of gainful employments or job opportunities. We call for more job opportunities for our teaming youths in order to reduce the menace of insecurity in the country. “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.
“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. “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 Assembly as template to guide legislative process of better repositioning of Nigeria. “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 practice 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?” Ayokunle also decried the closure of the nation’s universities as a result of industrial action by lecturers.
“That our universities have been under lock and key since March is an illwind 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.”