About Us

We have watched slowly the deterioration of our country both in terms of infrastructure, the politics and the incessant incidences of tribal and religious violence. Both under the military regime and the civilian governments, the situation has not changed. The Education is near collapse. The country that used to boast about having some of the best Universities in Africa now sends her children to neighbouring countries like Ghana to be educated. The Health Service is nothing to be proud of; the late President Yar’adua had to seek medical treatment abroad. Despite all these mounting problems, there have been half-hearted attempts to address the issues hindering our progress as a country. Some have called for the convening of a national conference to discuss the issues affecting us as a country, others have suggested several policies in different areas to tackle particular problems meanwhile majority of Nigerians are still suffering and Nigeria as a country is still finding it difficult to record any significant achievement. Millions of our young people are voting with their feet and leaving the country in droves looking for opportunity that they have been deprived at home elsewhere. Many have lost their lives in their effort to look for a promised land elsewhere when the promise of a good living at home after the hard effort of completing a university degree have turned out to be a farce. The ruling cabal have demonstrated a nonchalant attitude to the problems. They have demonstrated a lack of will to address the issues and at the worst a lack of care. The problems have not gone away but getting worse by the day.

Not long ago, we witnessed the Jos crisis and the accusation levelled against the military. The role of the military was also questioned on the issue of the deployment of soldiers in the middle of the night during the alleged arrival of the then unwell President Yar’Adua without the knowledge of the then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan who supposed to be the Acting Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces at the time by virtue of his position as the Acting President. There is also the unspoken question about the neutrality of our military. When there is a change of government, there is always a change in the appointment of military chiefs. Many talented officers were being retired at their prime - at the time when the country should be enjoying their services, having spent so much to train them. This is an arm of government that was supposed to serve as a unifying body but its loyalty at any given time have always been questioned even if not in words but in actions by each president or head of state that have ruled the country. This is a huge waste that needs addressing.

We in the NFR believes it is time for all Nigerians to act. This is not an issue of North against South or East against West, this is a struggle for the future of our people and particularly our children and we should not wait for the ruling cabal any longer. It is time for grass root democracy. This is why we in the NFR are urging every Nigerian in every state of the federation to join hands with us and put pressure on the governor of each state to conduct a referendum in their individual state. The referendum is about asking the citizen of each state what they want. Are they happy with the state of things in the country? What kind of changes do they want? Are they happy with the federal arrangement? What type of relationship do they want between the regions making up the federation?

Why referendum? Nigeria today is completely different from the Nigeria that our fore-fathers signed up to and it is only fair that every Nigerian today should be given the opportunity to express a view on the issues affecting the country - the direction or no direction of the country together with other issues burning in the hearts of the constituents that made up the country today.

Why are the issues not left in the hand of the National Assembly? Many of the issues involved affect the foundation upon which our democracy itself was built and to leave the solution in the hands of the same people which any agreed changes will affect will raise the issue of conflict of interest. Take for instance the issue of the number of states. Nigeria started with three regions but today we have 36 states. Many of these states are unviable - they contribute little to the Gross Domestic Product of the country but only add to the ever growing cost of administering the country. In addition, many have become the focal point of incessant religious and tribal clashes leading to loss of many innocent lives. For instance, in 1979, Sokoto State was governed by one state governor, one deputy governor together with the various state departments etc. However today, the size of the 1979 Sokoto state is now governed by three governors, three deputy governors together with other state government departments which have been trebled thereby tripling the cost of administering the 1979 Sokoto state. This is also true of many other states. State creation has become a device used by the ruling cabal to create political posts for themselves and maintain their influence and control of the country polity. This is at the cost of the national interest because it has resulted in the wasteful use of resources. The huge resources that are being spent on these unnecessary units of administration could have been well spent in developing many infrastructures within the country. These resources are now being used to fund the posts of governors, deputy governors, members of National and State Assemblies together with the various state departments that goes with the creation of states. The irony of this is that the Nigerian masses are creating jobs for those that are supposed to be creating jobs for them. The majority of those taking up these newly created political posts, and in fact those that are able to take up the newly created political posts are rich and wealthy people who should be creating jobs for the masses.


WHY REFERENDUM AT THE STATE LEVEL?

Referendum at the state level is the only way to give a voice to all the numerous constituents within the country and ensures that every voice and every views are heard. In addition, this is not an election to be conducted by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) either. This is about grassroot democracy and should be overseen by individual state and regions. Election conducted by INEC have always been questioned by one group or another and this kind of referendum is best conducted by the states since it is about obtaining the views of their constituents at the grassroot level. For INEC to oversee such an important exercise will not be in the best interest of the various constituents that made up the country and may rob the outcome of the referendum of much needed legitimacy that goes with referendum.

Secondly, referendum at the state level will enhance grass root democracy and confer higher legitimacy to the outcome or the decision arrived at.

Thirdly, It has become clear that the ruling cabal at the centre will not make any move on the issue of obtaining the views of the different people that made up the country and even now that it has become clear that the survival of the country is at stake and urgent actions are needed to address the problems. There have been several calls for the convening of a national conference to address the issues burning in the hearts of all Nigerians but these calls have not been heeded and as a matter of fact, this is not what is needed by the country. National conference will only help to legitimise the views of the few where as we all know will be determined by compromise and trading off at the expense of the national interest. What the country needs at the moment is a referendum precipitated by grassroot debate on what the various constituents want.

We now urged all concerned Nigerians in every state of the federation to join hands with us to demand for referendum organised and conducted within their states with the results collated and analysed within the states and regions. The outcome will form the basis for discussion and negotiation among the constituent elements that made up the country.

We in the NFR believe that this is the best solution for our country right now considering the enormous problems faced by the country.

Please show your support for our campaign by leaving your name, where you're writing from, contact address e.g. email (if you will like to be contacted). You can also send us your views and comments on the issues raised or issues you will like to raise which may be published on our website.

Folorunso Makinde
President
NFR