20 October 2013

Nigeria: National Confab - Committee's Report for Referendum - Okunrounmu

Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on National Conference, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, has hinted that the findings and recommendations of the body would serve as material for the nation's constitution.

He said the committee would only recommend to President Goodluck Jonathan the procedure for setting up a national conference and would come up with findings and recommendations on the real issues in the country.

"The findings and recommendation of the committee are subject materials for the constitution. The people are the sovereign authority of Nigeria, so whatever the findings and recommendations of the committee, they should be subjected to a national referendum by the people," he said.

On insinuations from some quarters that the proposed national conference might lead to Nigeria's disintegration, Okunrounmu said it would rather strengthen the existence of the country.

He told newsmen when he celebrated Sallah with the interim national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, at his country home in Ila Orangun, that, "It does not make sense for anybody to think that coming together to dialogue on national issues will lead to the break-up of Nigeria. To say that when people sit down and talk will be a path to breaking up Nigeria does not make sense. In fact, that can only be a path to cementing the unity of Nigeria," he said

The elder statesman also sought to allay the fears of some Nigerians that the committee would compromise their interests. He pledged to do everything he could to see that the committee comes out successful and does not disappoint Nigerians.

Also yesterday, governor of Niger State and chairman of the Northern States Governors' Forum (NSGF), Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, reiterated the resolve of the North to participate in the planned national conference.

Aliyu spoke in Yola, the Adamawa State capital after he was turbaned Bauran Adamawa by his Royal Highness the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha.

The governor said that the North was not afraid of the conference, stressing that it would affect the region positively when it was finally held.

"As the chairman of the Northern Governors' Forum, I believe that the convocation of a national conference is in the interest of the North. We are awaiting its take-off without any fear, as we believe the North will be the better for it," he said.

Aliyu therefore enjoined all northern governors to prepare for the conference, so that issues concerning northern Nigeria would be well addressed.

He said for the country to enjoy peace, dialogue must be embraced by all, regardless of ethnic, religious and political inclination.

"Unity cannot be achieved if justice and fair play are not entrenched in our psyche. Therefore, the national conference is a good avenue for people to sit together and discuss their common problems. Traditional Institutions should be accorded the kind of responsibility they can handle. They also help significantly in nation-building efforts," Aliyu said.

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