9 March 2014

Nigeria: Govt Recycles 38 Delegates At Obasanjo's 2005 Conference for Jonathan's 2014 Conference

Photo: Leadership
National conference delegates.

No fewer than 38 members of the defunct National Political Reform Conference, NPRC, convoked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, have been nominated as delegates to the proposed National Conference.

The Federal Government on Thursday released a list of over 480 members of the conference, which will be inaugurated on March 17 in Abuja.

Although 492 members will attend the conference, some groups, are yet to fill the slots reserved for them. They include the All Progressives Congress, APC, which was given two slots, and the Academy of Social Sciences which has one slot.

Similarly, the Forum of Former Governors, Delta, Oyo and Rivers have one outstanding slot each to fill.

Among the names of the delegates released so far, some members of the NPRC, which had about 398 delegates and sat between February and July, 2005, are attending the NC.

Among those returning are former Justice Minister, Richard Akinjide; University proprietor and lawyer, Afe Babalola; former Rivers State military governor and now traditional ruler in Bayelsa State, Alfred Diette-Spiff; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Ike Nwachukwu; former Federal Commissioner for Information and Ijaw Leader, Edwin Clark; and former Information Minister, Jerry Gana, retired army general, Abdullahi Mammam; and former security chief, Albert Horsfall, all of who have been nominated into the elder statesmen category for the coming confab.

In the defunct NPRC, Messr. Akinjide, Babalola, Clark, Diette-Spiff and Horsfall were nominees of Oyo, Ekiti, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers State Governments, respectively. On their part, Mr. Mamman came on the ticket of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, while Mr. Gana was in the Special Cases category.

Similarly, about 11 conferees of the NPRC, who are coming to Jonathan's national conference, are in the category of socio-cultural organisations.

Among them are Kimse Okoko (Bayelsa), Joshua Fumudo (Delta), Silas Eneyo (Rivers), Ajibola Ogunshola (Oyo), Femi Okurounmu (Ogun), Hassan Adamu (Adamawa), Auwalu Yadudu (Kano), Magaji Dambatta (Kano), Jeremiah Useni (Plateau), Aliyu Akwe Idoma (Nasarawa), John Dara (Kwara) and Saidu Barda (Katsina).

Messrs. Okurounmu of the Afenifere and Dara of the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, were the only one on the list who came to the NPRC in the same category.

Mr. Okoko came on the ticket of Bayelsa and in fact was the leader of the state's delegation at the time while Mr. Eneyo was a nominee of the Rivers State Government. Messrs. Dambatta and Yadudu came on the ticket of Kano State while Mr. Barda was a nominee of the Katsina State Government.

Messrs. Ogunshola a former Chairman of the Punch Newspaper came on the ticket of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Ngeria, NPAN; Mr. Useni (defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party); Mr. Fumudo, in the category of retired Security Personnel; and Mr. Adamu on the ticket of Manufacturer Association of Nigeria, MAN.

Mr. Akwe Doma, a former governor of Nasarawa State who was in the elderstatesmen category is coming to the NC in the category of socio-cultural organisations.

Those who are coming on the same platform as in the 2005 conference are Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of ThisDay Newspaper, who will still represent NPAN, John Achimugu in Christian Leaders category and Ishaq Oloyede in Muslim Leaders category.

Others are the Emir of Yauri, Zaiyanu Abdullahi, who came to the NPRC under the traditional ruler category, North West geo-political zone, and Emmanuel Ugboaja of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.

Other delegates to the defunct NPRC, who are being returned by their states are J.C Ogbonna (Abia), Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Anambra), Francis Doukpolagha (Bayelsa), Jacob Tilley-Gyado (Benue), Godfrey Ejiga (Benue), and Isa Mohammed (Kebbi).

However, the vice presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2011, Fola Adeola who was in the category of Special Cases in the NPRC is coming in as a delegate of the Ogun State while Salome Jankada who was in the category of elder statesmen is now coming as a representative of Taraba State.

Ahmadu Ali represented Kogi State in the NPRC, but he is coming to the Jonathan conference on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Issues some of them canvassed at the Obasanjo conference are:

Ike Nwachukwu (Other Political Parties category): One six year term for president, five year term for governors and one four year term for local government chairmen; rotation of presidency among the six geo-political zones and that areas that have dominated the office in the past should make sacrifice by allowing other zones to produce the president; governorship should rotate among the three senatorial districts and local government chairman rotate among the wards; substantial increase in the revenue accruable to mineral producing areas; energy sector be totally liberated so that private sector can guarantee, transmit and distribute electric power; Nigeria Army should adopt regimental system like the Uk, India and Spain; expunge immunity clause from the Constitution; INEC should be truly independent and elections staggered; and creation of another state in the South East.

Hassan Adamu (MAN): That agriculture should be on the concurrent list and 20% instead of 15% of the total annual budget at all levels of government should be released to Agriculture up till 2025; review the existing laws, policies and reports on Railways Act of 1958, 1954 and 1999; Ecological Fund of 15% of the National Budget be increased by 10% for the next 25 years in order to address holistically the serious ecological and environmental problem of the nation; zoning of the presidency between the North and the South.

Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Anambra): Adopt the current six geo-political zones (with adjustments) as the principal federating units and allowing the existing states as sub-regional units; revenue allocation must emphasise the principle of national interest; a golden mean on derivation should be found between the 50% of the First Republic and the present 13%; trimming the powers of the political parties, one term for elected executive office holders and a number of terms for legislators; rotation of office; report of conference should go to Nigerians to pronounce on through voting in a referendum.

Silas Eneyo (Rivers): Demanded 50% derivation for oil-producing states.

Salome Jankada (Taraba): "South-South really has a case on derivation because anything that affects the region has an effect on other parts of the country. However, are these monies well utilized? It is high time every state went back and looked inward on what to do. We can't come to the Federal Government every time to take pittance."

Aliyu Akwe-Doma (Nasarawa): He disagreed with the recommendation on derivation, saying it would amount to passing the bulk. He said, "This conference should leave no stone unturned in tackling the issue. 13% is not the making of any (conference) committee. It was as a result of the resolution of National Constitutional Conference, NCC, in 1994/1995. The expectation of Nigerian is that this conference has the capacity to address this issue. So we should take the bull by the horn and make recommendation to the government. The Federal Character Commission should be retained and empowered. Composition of the Civil Service is tilted against some parts of Nigeria (and) it is unhealthy".

Jacob Tilley-Gyado(Benue): He rejected a proposed ban on former military leaders and spoke against electronic voting.

Femi Okurounmu (Ogun): Canvassed zonal government; disagreed with north-south zoning of Presidency. He preferred zoning among the six zones; supported six-year single tenure for president; supported ban on former military leaders because they committed treasonable offence, saying they were even lucky that they are walking the street free. He opposed state creation.

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