Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says he is not a member of the National Consultative Front (NCF), formed as a new political movement “aimed at driving reforms” in the country.
The communique which announced the formation of the movement listed “30 eminent Nigerians” as members of the group.
Falana was listed alongside Ghali Na’abba, a former speaker of the house of representatives; Olisa Agbakoba, a prominent lawyer; Obadiah Mailafia, ex-deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Oby Ezekwesii
Others are Abubakar Umar, Jibo Ibrahim, Chidi Odinkalu, Shehu Sani, a former senator; Remi Sonaiya, former presidential candidate; Tanko Yinusa, Shettima Yerima and Funke Awolowo.
But in a statement on Friday, Falana disowned the NCF, saying he was neither consulted nor did he attend the meeting where the movement was launched.
Although the human rights lawyer commended the initiative for trying to create an alternative platform, he said the lack of consultation shows the “desperate situation progressive Nigerians find themselves in the bid to save Nigeria from what looks like an imminent shipwreck.”
Falana said he has been involved in several efforts to generate a new platform, adding that Nigerians will be briefed at the appropriate time.
“My attention has been drawn to the launching of the Nigerian Consultative Forum (NCF) led by some notable Nigerians. I wish to commend all efforts aimed at creating an alternative platform with the potential of lifting the long suffering people of Nigeria from economic and political stupor. I also recognise the fact that some of the promoters of the NCF are people who are motivated by the common good. Many of them have made profound sacrifices to make Nigeria a better place to live,” the statement read.
“In this light I commend what appears to be the genuine motive of the organisers of the National Consultative Forum. However, I observe that my name has been mentioned as one of the pillars behind this initiative. While I appreciate the concern of the leadership of the new group to enlist my support, I wish to say that at no time have I been consulted neither did I attend the meeting where the forum was launched.
“I appreciate the almost desperate situation progressive Nigerians find themselves in the bid to save Nigeria from what looks like an imminent shipwreck. This might have informed the haste with which many honest and dedicated hands find themselves.
“This clarification should not be conceived as opposition to all honest efforts designed to rescue Nigeria from the claws of abject poverty and increasing loss of hope. I wish to add that there are several efforts I have been involved lately and I believe there is a growing perspective that all efforts should be harmonised for maximum impact.
“At the appropriate time, we shall come before Nigerians to present the new platform which would be predicated upon pro-masses oriented anti-poverty programme, and hopefully, the founders of the new initiative will be proud not to be left out.”
On Thursday, Agbakoba, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had distanced himself from the new political movement, saying he was not consulted.
Umar Dangiwa, former governor of Kaduna state, had also disowned the NCF, citing a similar reason.
In the buildup to the 2019 elections, similar efforts were made to create a third force but the groups collapsed before the polls.