By Chimezie Godfrey
The Movement for National Reformation, MNR, elected, Sen. Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo as his National Chairman, on Saturday 8th of October 2022.
A statement signed by the Dr Philip Idaewor
General Secretary, MNR, revealed that in 1992 Chief Anthony Enahoro, the founding leader of the MNR enlisted the support of other co-founders- Papas Alfred Rewane and Abraham Adesanya, Chiefs Olaniwun Ajayi, Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu, Dr Olu Onagoruwa, Sen. Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo to start the Movement.
According to Idaewor, Sen. Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo, the newly elected chairman was its first General Secretary. National and State leaders mainly from Mid-West, South-South, South-East, joined the movement at its official launching in Benin.
He added that following the demise of its founding Chairman, Chief Anthony Enahoro, on the 15th December 2010, the organisation became less active for some time.
In his acceptance speech, the new chairman eulogised and celebrated the memory of the founding leaders who had the foresight to start the movement, and many others who joined later, “but who, sadly are no longer with us today.Chief C.O. Adebayo went down memory lane stating that the founders were ‘the architect of change who set out to plant a Tree and not a grass’. He calls to mind the founding aims and objectives of the movement as:
“a non-partisan, non-governmental Think-Tank whose aims and objectives are to conduct in-depth analysis of and research into, the socio-economic and political problems facing Nigeria, its ethnic nationalities and citizens and actively mobilise the people and work towards the resolution of the identified challenges. Work for the Convocation of a People’s National Conference (PNC) to address the National Question and for a National Referendum on the Recommendations of the Conference.”
“Propagate the ideals and practices of democracy and the promotion of a democratic culture in Nigeria. Work for the integration of the best values of indigenous cultures with the ideals and process of democracy,” he stated.
While reiterating the achievements of MNR for championing and achieving some success in these areas, he reminds the members whom he called the “Apostles of change” that quite a lot are still left undone, saying:
“The previous challenge was that because of her problems, Nigeria as a country was making very minimal developmental gains by the day. But today, any conscious political observer would realise that we have moved further dangerously towards a fragile state status.”
He also observed that:
“The urgency and scope of Nigeria’s unfinished political liberation were aptly captured by Chief Enahoro in his remarks made at the send-off banquet organised in his honour in New York City on the 11th of November 1999, when he said:
“In my time, our country has been liberated from direct external rule, but the liberation of our people is as yet incomplete. We of the MNR believe that the next step in the true liberation of our people is the recognition and empowerment of our nationalities, the establishment of true democracy within the nationalities, and the prescription of equitable relationships between the nationalities which choose to live under one flag.” Chief Enahoro went on to call on MNR members:
“Let us dare to conceive, let us dare to contrive and strive and let us dare to hope.
Such is and that is the spirit of the MNR movement.”
Chief Adebayo further noted that “It is this realisation that has motivated this revival of the MNR with the hope that we can re-energise the vision, mobilise the manpower and the organisational capacities to catch-up with the lost time more so as the problems have worsened.”
In concluding his remarks, he calls on members to “work and stay tenacious and undistracted by political short-term gains or losses and ensure that our undertaking on restructuring can become a topical and mainstream issue in Nigeria’s politics starting from debates and discussions during the 2023 election campaign.
Other officers elected at the event are as follows:
1. Vice Chairman: HRH Sam Onimisi
2. General Secretary: Dr Philip Idaewor who will also be Head of the organisation’s Secretariat Directorate
3. Director of Research and Strategy: Professor Igho Natufe
4. Director of Mobilisation & Organisation: Mr Taiwo Akinola
5. Director of Public Relations: Comrade Faruq Chukwumah
6. Legal Advisers:
i. Professor Aduche R. Wokocha
ii. Barr Manni OCHUGBOJU
7. Women Leader: (Acting): Dr Taiwo Olunuga
9. Director of Youth Affairs: Comrade Obinna Osuagwu
10. Director of Diaspora & International Affairs: Dr. Aisha Nonye Obodoeke
11. South West Coordinator: Professor Ezekiel K. Ogundowole.
Adebayo added,”In its examination of the state of the nation, the MNR observed that Nigeria, a developing, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country is faced with many developmental challenges; such as poor infrastructure, lack of adequate manpower, ethnic balance of power struggles for power and influence, poorly educated citizens, lack of financial facilities, etc.
“However, 60 years after obtaining her independence from Britain, it has somewhat comparatively underperformed below its potential and similar under developed countries, overwhelmingly because of its poor management of its ethnic diversity challenges.
“These challenges were already emerging over 30 years ago which compelled the founding leaders of the MNR to call for urgent reformation of the Nigerian superstructure to hasten national maturation towards a more balanced and equitable country.
“Clearly, Nigeria with over three hundred composite ethic nationalities remains a subject in existential threat of failure;
i. incapable of delivering to its population a stable and consistent improvement to the quality of life,
ii. perfecting an image of political immaturity and moral fragility, and
iii. most tragically Nigerians today live under more dire strait and the pillars of a modern state are collapsing in Nigeria.
“Our movement considers this situation an aberration.
“The revived MNR aims to work with all patriots and nationalists in a non-partisan framework or context to provide the moral and political guidance and drive to ensure that the Nigerian experiment becomes a federative socio economic success in post colonial Africa south of the Sahara.”