With the Assistance of
National Assembly (NASS)
Governments of Bauchi, State and
United Nations Development Agency (UNDP)

Edited by
Dr. Ifedi Okwenna


The Annual National Political Summit is a flagship programme of the Save Democracy Africa. The programme, which is in its third consecutive edition has grown to becoming an inexorable platform for dialogue among the leaders of Nigeria from across political, ethnic and religious divides. The platform built for development of elite consensus, enhances understanding of diverse points of views of different political stakeholders. It usually aid in reduction of suspicions and in strengthening trusts and confidence among the political class.
For Nigeria, events in her polity shows that key issues of federalism, corporate co-existence of citizens within the union, national security architecture, governance structure, system of administration etc. are far from been settled. It is therefore important that this platform continues to play its role of creating large and small forums for continuous dialogue by the political leaders, practitioners and researchers for the survival and sustainability of Nigerian democracy. It provides for constant dialogue across party lines between political stakeholders for the purposes of enriching the political experiment. This patented programme has become an idea breeding ground for the advancement of Nigeria and African democracy and for policy formulations. Decisions of the meeting are usually transmitted to the legislative arms of government as bills for enactment into laws or for inclusions into the constitutional amendment processes, while consensus reached on policies, projects and programmes at the summit are presented to the executive arm for consideration and implementation.

The 3rd Annual National Political Summit, which took place between the 19th and 21st March, came at a time in Nigeria when the ship of the state was facing great turbulence over the security challenges and agitations for the restructuring of the country and when another general election was yet around the corner. The Summit was chaired by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, while the Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas delivered the Keynote speech. The Guest Lecture was given by the immediate former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete while Professor Mpoy-Kumulayi L.T, from Congo DR, who is the current President of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Africa (CJPA)), delivered a lead paper. The Governor of Bauchi State, His Excellency, Barr. Muhammed Abubakar delivered the Summit Goodwill Speech.


Leaders and representatives of the six geopolitical zones including Alhaji Tanko Yakasai (North West), Chief Edwin Clark, (represented by Mac Emakpore) South South, Chief Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife (South East), Hon Muhammed Kumalia (North East), Chief Yinka Odumakin (South West), Dr Philip Salawu (whose scholarly, but pragmatic presentation was adopted for North Central Zone), attended the summit and delivered their position papers and perspectives to reforming Nigeria. The emerging leaders of the respective zones and sectors participated as lead discussants at the Summit. They included, Hon Adamu Modibo (North East), Ambassador Humphrey Orjiako (South East), Professor Sule Bello (North West), Dr. Manzo Abubakar (North Central), Mrs. Nela Andem-Rabana SAN (South South), and Chief Dipo Jimilehin (South West). Others include Dr. Tanko Yunusa for Political Parties and Bar Esther Uzoma (Civil Societies and Gender) etc. Respected Nigerians such as Rt. Hon Ghali Na’Abba, His Excellency Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, HE Sen. (Prof) Oserheimen Osunbor, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, Sen Adefemi Kila, Rt. Hon Tunde Akogun, Gen. Yakubu Usman rtd, Chief Mrs. Racheal Akpabio, Prof S.A Ibrahim, Professor Ihechukwu Madubike etc attended and chaired different sessions. Other stakeholders at the three day Summit are chairmen and members of some political parties, Governments at all levels and all tiers, Public Servants, Academics and Researchers, Business Leaders, Senior Citizens and Elder Statesmen and Women, Traditional and Religious Leaders, Members of the Diplomatic missions and development partners, International participants, Civil Society Groups, Faith-based and Community based Organizations, Youth and Women leaders, among others.


The resolutions of the Summit were summarized in two documents. They include:
The Abuja III Political Declaration and
The Framework of Action for Strategic implementation of the Reform Agenda.
This document, Abuja III Declaration, is the summary of the resolutions taken unanimously by all the delegates from across all the states, zones and sectors of Nigeria who participated at the three day event, which took place in Abuja. The draft was arrived at from presentations, discussions and resolutions taken at all the plenaries and sessions of the Summit. The final draft was thereafter approved paragraph by paragraph at the final plenary session of the Summit.


The Declaration is a representation of the commitment of Nigerian political stakeholders, leaders of thought, social scientists, researchers and defenders of open society from across political, ethnic and religious groups, who attended the Summit, to enthronement of a stronger federal system of government, as a sure path to the desired unity, mutual co-existence and growth. Stakeholders declared their determination to tackle the challenges that have bedeviled Nigeria’s quest for a stronger and more stable federation and further mapped out plans to unlock her potentials. While decrying the negative impact which ethnicity, loyalty and commitment to tribe and religion has done to national cohesion and the desire of citizens to build a stronger nation, they demanded that a deliberate policy be put in place by government at all levels to gradually reduce the citizen’s continued affinity to their respective tribes and religions and that the usual demand for a Nigerian citizen’s ethnicity and religion in any official documentation, be stopped forthwith.
This document also contains the unanimous and unequivocal commitment by these stakeholders to the unity and oneness of Nigeria, the advancement of democratic principles and their commitment to building a united, peaceful and harmonious nation that is capable of accommodating, protecting and catering for all her citizens.
It is therefore my honour and privilege to present to you this declaration and I enjoin you to join hands towards promoting and strengthening the continued co-existence of all Nigerians and to the strengthening of her federalism.


Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
Director General,
Save Democracy Africa,
Abuja, 22nd March, 2018.

We, the Nigerian political stakeholders, leaders of thought, social scientists and researchers, eminent politicians across political parties and defenders of open society from across political, ethnic and religious groups as well as government and the governed, assembled in Abuja, Nigeria from 19th-21st March, 2018, for the 3rd Annual National Political Summit convened by the Save Democracy Africa. The Summit with the theme: Reforming the Nigerian Federation – Which Way Forward, was held in consideration of the need to explore ways of moving Nigeria forward and to develop her into a stronger and more united and cohesive nation. Having x-rayed the nations political structure, governance and developmental problems and listened to presentations of all the stakeholders from across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, we do hereby declare as follows. That we are:


CONCERNED with the increasing security challenges bedeviling our nation and its impact to national peace, cohesion and quest for a strong and stable federation. We do therefore state that the increasing challenge to our federalism by internal insurgencies, divisiveness, ethnic and religious schism in parts of Nigeria can no longer be wished away;


NOTED that ethnicity, loyalty and commitment to tribe and religion more than to nation state have affected the desire of citizens to build a strong nation. This citizen’s unalloyed commitment to ethnic sectional and religious interest than to nation has made Nigeria to remain a tottering nation despite its great potentials;
OBSERVED that lack of inclusiveness in political leadership particularly across sectional and sectoral interests, gender, youth etc. has led to thriving insecurity including Boko Haram terrorism, separatist agitations, militancy, apathy in the electoral process and challenges to conduct of free, fair, credible and conclusive elections;


DECRIED the erosion of powers of the state to make and enforce her laws in a federation of Nigeria, despite the independence of such governments in a federal state and the unfettered powers of such government to make laws that benefits their development and wellbeing;


DISTURBED by the over concentration of powers and responsibilities, some of which could better be handled by the states, on the Federal Government; the emasculation of the powers of the Local Governments; the controversial issue of joint state and local government account; and the fact that States Houses of Assembly have kept voting against the autonomy of the Local Governments, which are supposed to bring the government closer to the people, during all the previous alterations to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;


LAMENTED the loss in party supremacy in our polity, the ascendency of rule of impunity and dictatorship as well as its negative impact to election of credible and visionary leaders and in the sustenance of democracy;
UNDERSCORED growing reduction of women in the political leadership roles and governance; the constitutional disenfranchisement of married women from contesting elections in places other than their paternal constituencies; and the none mainstreaming of the place of the youths and the persons living with disability in our party democracy, which have giving rise to their skewed representations in both executive and legislative arms of government;


ALARMED by the increasing emergence of several ethnic movements that have become so militant and violent; the inability of the Nigerian police to contain their activities and to effectively protect the lives and security of ordinary Nigerians; the resultant current violent conflicts between farmers and herdsmen and the gruesome murder of innocent citizens;


Our unalloyed support to the unity and oneness of Nigeria and are therefore committed to building a united, peaceful and harmonious nation, able to accommodate and cater for all her citizens and very strong enough to be the world black and African superpower.

That in view of our diversity, history and peculiarity as a nation, Federalism remains a sure basis for the unity of Nigerian nation. We are therefore determined to tackle the challenges that have bedeviled Nigeria’s quest for a stronger and more stable federation and to unlock her potentials.


We clearly understand the independence of governments under a federation and the unfettered powers of such governments to make laws that benefit their development and wellbeing. We therefore insist that such powers cannot be taken away from them as long as they do not breach any constitutional provisions. All citizens and residents of each of the 36 Federating states and the Federal Capital Territory are urged to respect the laws of their own or host states respectively in addition to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as applicable.

We totally support reforms and restructuring of Nigeria as an inevitable programme for Nigerian development and hereby declare that restructuring is not and should not be seen as anti-government or anti-people, but an opportunity for the people of Nigeria to sit together and audit the present structure and agree on a blueprint for going forward in such a manner that allows for unhindered development and for giving every citizen a sense of belonging.

We support the devolution of more powers to the component federating units, allowing them additional responsibilities to become more viable and self-reliant. We therefore request for the unbundling of the 68 – item Exclusive list so as to allow states with more responsibilities and powers to develop, diversify and become less dependence on the monthly allocation from the federation account.
We support the enthronement of the principle of fiscal federalism/resource control which shall allow communities and states to own their resources under an arrangement where sufficient royalties are paid to the federal government.

That a system of checks and balances be put in place to promote accountability, entrench the rule of law, nurture political parties to grow, promote transparent and credible elections and growth in our democracy.
That Nigerian electorates must strive to elect credible, visionary, selfless, prudent, intelligent and indefatigable leaders to superintend credibly the affairs of our nation, devoid of primordial interests and sentiments.

That as part of the next alteration to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the obnoxious provision prohibiting women from contesting elections in places other than their paternal constituency be expunged to give more access to women in electoral contest and appointments into the public offices. Further to this, that a women-exclusive constituency be created as part of constitutional amendment to allow women a certain number of seats to exclusively contest among themselves.

That agreed percentage of appointments be allocated to Nigerian women, youths and persons living with disability in government appointments and to public offices, through Act of Parliament, as a deliberate policy and more effort be put in place to strengthen the leadership recruitment processes to give adequate attention to the women, youths and persons living with disability in Nigeria.

That there is urgent need to restore the foundations developed by our founding fathers to wit: strong political system; patriotism and qualitative leadership; strong and efficient civil service, the destruction of which have led to stagnation in developing key national institutions resulting in the perennial underdevelopment of Nigeria.

That a deliberate policy be put in place by government at all levels to gradually reduce the citizen’s continued affinity to their respective tribes and religions. Therefore the question of ones tribe or religion should henceforth not be demanded in any official documentation of a Nigerian citizen.
We call on political parties to converse for and work hard to restore political party supremacy in our polity as that is the surest means to sustain democracy and to create effective insurance and safe guard against ascendency of the rule of impunity and dictatorship by those supposedly elected under the same platform.
We commend the Save Democracy Africa for the visionary decision to establishing and sustaining the Annual National Political Summit as a credible platform for Nigeria and indeed Africa, for free flow of relevant governance ideas, their continuous interrogation through dialogue and for unhindered discussion of their country and its future.

Dated in Abuja this ————————–of March————————-

(For and on behalf of the 1,521 Nigerian delegates from across the country and abroad who converged on Abuja, between the 19th and 21st March, 2018 and who unanimously endorsed this declaration).

Sen. (Dr) Jonathan Zwingina Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
Chairman, Governing Council SDA Director General, SDA

Prof. Greg Ibe OFR HE. Sen. Oserheimen Osunbor
Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) Deputy Chairman, Governing Council.



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