By EricJames Ochigbo
The Advocates for Integrity in Leadership (AFIL), a non-partisan coalition of concerned Nigerians has called for the amendment of the Constitution to review the minimum standard and expectation of integrity for members of the National Assembly.
The Convener of the coalition, Ms Chimdi Neliaku made the call while leading a peaceful walk at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said that there is need to set a minimum standard and expectation of integrity for those who represent the people in the critical arm of government.
Neliaku said that it has become necessary to commence a conversation on a possible review of the electoral process and criteria for members of the National Assembly.
“Being the closest to the people in representative democracy, activities of members paint Nigerians in bad light, as whatever they do is seen to represent the views and carry the endorsement of their constituents.
“Such perceptions misrepresent the image and future of the Nigeria we desire; as young people, thus we find it necessary to speak up about these issues so that they can be addressed for the sake of our future,” she said.
Neliaku said that as young Nigerians, members of the coalition witnessed several fights on the floor of the National Assembly as well as other worrisome occurrences.
“As young Nigerians, we say thus far, no further, this is not who we are and this is not the Nigeria we desire. We want the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly to be sacred and purposeful.
“Nigeria is becoming a country that is hard to love, unattractive to fight for and difficult to be proud of and it is our sincere belief that many of the elders in this nation have failed us.
“They have sent wrong value messages to our generation, they have rewarded evil with good and they have set wrong patterns and templates for us,” she said.
The convener said that all over the world, Nigerians have unfortunately been tagged with the reputation of a lawless, fraudulent and corrupt people.
Neliaku said that the narrative had been seemingly justified by some indiscretions of some members of the National Assembly.
The convener said that as part of the coalition’s contribution to nation’s building and development, the group is heralding a national value re-orientation movement, titled, ‘I am Different’.
“As young Nigerians, we are saying we are different, we are not fraudulent, we are not lawless, we are not lazy, we are not thieves, we are not corrupt and we want those that represent and lead us to reflect and promote values and ethics that will provide positive role models and inspire confidence in us.
“We decided to start this advocacy on national value reorientation from the legislative arm of government because it is the torchbearer of our democracy and the bastion of civil rule.
“This purposeful intervention will however not be limited to the legislature, we shall take it to the judiciary, the executive and the people.
“For us, it is a national reawakening to dare to be different from ills that allay us, as a people and nation. It is an individual commitment to say ‘I am different’ to achieve a collective responsibility for a nation that truly works,” she said.
According to her, we as Nigerians must play our roles in nation building, even as we call on our leaders to play theirs.
She called on every youth, legislator and individual who is truly different from the negative stereotype and wanted to see a great Nigeria to kindly join the national value-reorientation movement.
“Nigeria is ours, Nigeria is the only country we have, we are not here by accident, our destinies are tied to this nation.
“Our future is determined by the actions and in actions of our present, therefore, we have responsibility to stand up for Nigeria, let us defend her and uphold her honour and glory. So help us, God,” she added.