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Confab Report Goes To Senate

10 Months After Its Submission, Report Of The 2014 National Conference Reached The National Assembly Yesterday For Action

Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sent report of the 2014 National Conference to the National Assembly to consider and approve implementation of its recommendations and resolutions. The UNION recalls that the Conference, chaired by Justice Idris Kutigi, lasted for five months, and was concluded on August 14, 2014 while the report was submitted to the President a week later.

In a letter addressed to the Senate President, Senator David Mark, Jonathan recalled the mandates of the Conference, which gulped N7 billion, was inaugurated on March 17, 2014. “May I draw the attention of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the enclosed report of the National Conference, 2014, which was deliberated upon and approved for implementation by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting of 18th March, 2015. “Your Excellency may recall that the National Conference was inaugurated on the 17th of March, 2014, with the mandates to among other things: discuss any issue about Nigeria with particular emphasis on finding solutions to the problems of national unity and development; come up with strategies to strengthen rather than weaken Nigeria’s unity and enhance a participatory and inclusive democratic system of government; recognise the need to move the country forward and de-emphasise the narrow interest that defines our fault lines; spell out the modalities for the implementation of these recommendations and resolutions; suggest any constitutional arrangement they consider best for Nigeria,” he said in the letter dated May 25, 2015”.

Jonathan pointed out that the National Conference, which was enjoined to refrain from discussing the breakup of the country, was not given any no-go areas. “Distinguished senators are invited to note that at the end of the Conference, a report was submitted with recommendations and resolutions covering the following thematic areas: agriculture and water resources, citizenship, immigration and related matters, civil society organisations, labour, youths and sports, devolution of power, economy, trade and investment, energy, environment, foreign policy and diaspora matters, law, judiciary, human rights and legal reform. “Land tenure matters and national boundaries, national security, political restructuring and forms of government, political parties and electoral matters, policies and governance, public finance, public service, social sector, religion, science technology and development and transportation,” he pointed out.

He noted that recommendations of the Conference on the implementation modalities of the resolutions are contained in Chapter Six of the report. “The resolutions are classified into three broad categories, constitutional, legal and policy issues. The report further indicates that the nature of the actions to be taken, the objectives to be achieved and the agency that needs to take the actions.

The Conference also submitted draft bills of resolutions that require constitution amendments or legal amendments. “At the meeting of FEC on 18th of March 2015, Council considered and approved the reports of the Conference and resolved as fellows: “That the draft bills be transmitted to the National Assembly for enactment into law. “That the recommendations, resolutions that are outside the purview of the Federal Government be forwarded to the relevant tiers of government for implementations. “That relevant agencies of government should harmonise the Conference resolutions with extant policies for immediate implementation. “Distinguished Senate President, the report of the National Conference is hereby forwarded to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for consideration and necessary legislative actions,” he added.

Implementation of the recommendations of the conference had raised expectations as several interest groups and individuals, especially delegates to the conference, had urged the incoming administration to focus on the report as a way of finding the necessary fillip for the restructuring of the country. A delegate to the conference, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, had in a recent interview insisted that implementation of the Confab recommendations was the way out of the woods for Nigeria.

He had said: “The entire document must be fully implemented. Nigeria needs structural change to be permanent on earth. The permanence of one Nigeria requires major changes as have been proposed at the 2014 National conference. Buhari must ensure justice, fairness and equity as has been spelt out in that document. You do those things and Nigeria is guaranteed a better place amongst the comity of nations and if you fail to do them, the country will be like a bird perching on a rope shaking all the time. “So from all perspective, whether you are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio or Urhobo, one Nigeria is best for all of us.

To get one Nigeria, you must make some sacrifices and changes are necessary. President Goodluck Jonathan has already, beyond doubts, demonstrated that these things are possible and realizable. This was among the reasons we supported President Jonathan in the first place. He had the guts to convoke the National Conference against all odds and has pushed it as far as he could up to the Federal Executive Council (FEC)”.

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