One hundred political and thought leaders including 14 current governors, 13 former governors as well as three former Senate Presidents have met in Lagos to ‘rescue Nigeria’ and map a new consensus for national rebirth.
The leaders, under the aegis of ‘The 2022 Committee’, said Nigeria must be secured, peaceful and united before the nation can have candidates for political offices in 2023. This was made known in a statement released on Wednesday and co-signed on behalf of the conveners by ThisDay Newspapers Publisher, Nduka Obaigbena; as well as Borno-born politician and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam.
According to the statement, the leaders met from February 4 to 6, 2022. It, however, did not reveal the names of the 100 leaders who met in Lagos but The PUNCH gathered that top chieftains from both the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party attended the event. The participants also comprised southern and northern leaders. Some of those in attendance that our correspondent could confirm included a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Senate President and Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Anyim Pius Anyim, who is also a PDP presidential aspirant; ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki, also a PDP presidential aspirant; former Governor of Imo State; Ikedi Ohakim, former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke and former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
In the statement released on Wednesday, Obaigbena and Ibrahim-Imam said the leaders worked in three sub-committees of national security, the economy and Nigeria in transition, noting that “the participants recognized that there is an urgent need to seek common ground and irreducible minimum actions to stabilize the polity at this critical time of transition.” The statement was titled, ‘Eminent Business, Political, Society and Thought Leaders Meet in Lagos to Build Consensus for National Rebirth’. It partly read, “The meetings will continue, as we work with Federal and State Governments, current and future political leaders of all political persuasions, as well as other eminent patriotic citizens, for the greater good of the Nigerian people.
“Whilst The 2022 Committee is interested in the quality of leadership that will emerge in Nigeria at all levels, we consider attempts to link the Committee with candidates or political parties for the 2023 elections as an unwarranted and unnecessary distraction – candidates are only chosen by political parties and we are not a political party.
“All the 100 leading lights of the 2022 Committee have the capacity for national leadership; indeed, amongst the very active participants in the work of the Committee are over 7 persons, from 3 or more political parties, who have already publicly declared their aspiration to lead the country but are desirous of working with other patriots for non-partisan greater national goals. We must have a secure, peaceful and united nation before we can have candidates for political offices.
“The Committee believes that what Nigeria needs today is for all patriots to come together to rescue our nation from all political, economic and security threats, and promote the unity of Nigeria. We call on all patriotic volunteers, who are willing and able, to join this collective effort to stabilize the system so we can all build a new Nigeria we can all be proud of.”
– The Punch