Breaking: Proposed tenure extension for Jonathan: National Conference places disclaimer on delegate

Posted by News Express | 20 May 2014 | 3,318 times

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Chief Okon Osung, the National Conference delegate who last week launched a campaign for the cancellation of the 2015 general elections and the extension of the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan and other elected public officials, has been shamed by the Conference.

A disclaimer has been placed on Chief Osung via a statement signed by the Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications of the Conference, Akpandem James, entitled “DISCLAIMER: CHIEF OKON OSUNG AND HIS PRESIDENTIAL DECLARATION OF A MORATORIUM.”

The statement, a copy of which was made available to News Express, says as follows:

The attention of the Chairman and other Principal Officers of the 2014 National Conference has been drawn to several publications and commentaries in the media arising from a press conference allegedly addressed by a delegate to the National Conference, Chief Okon Osung from Akwa Ibom State. At the said press conference, Chief Osung was said to have called for a Presidential Declaration of a Moratorium. He was quoted as stating as follows:

“At this crucial juncture in our national history, a Presidential or National Assembly declaration of a politico-administrative moratorium or cooling-off period before the conduct of the third Transitional Elections scheduled for February 2015 has become an imperative necessity. This calls for a postponement of the or deferment of the scheduled 2015 Elections by at least 18 months while retaining all the democratic institutions at all levels of governance and across the entire spectrum of the country’s political divide, without any bias to the statutory termination dates of such democratic institutions.”

Ordinarily, we would have ignored, as usual, issues raised by Chief Osung in his comments because as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he has a right within the confines of the1999 Constitution (as amended) to express his personal opinions on any issue of his choice.

However, it has been observed that certain members of the public have come to view the personal views of the delegate as having something to do with the Conference. This is far from the truth. Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state as follows:

1. The views expressed by Chief Okon Osung regarding tenure extension for any elected official, based on any reasons cited by him, are entirely personal to him and must not be viewed or regarded to, in any way, have any anything whatsoever to do  with the National Conference or any of its Committees.

2. That such views were never expressed on the floor of the Conference, which did not sit in plenary, as at the time the views were made public. It was never heard, never debated or discussed in any manner whatsoever in any of the Committees whose reports are already with the management of the Conference. Both the leadership of the Conference and the other 491 members only read about them in the media just as members of the public did.

3. That such a position by Chief Osung was never submitted to any of the 20 Committees set up by the National Conference to deliberate on and make recommendations on critical issues that necessitated the call and eventual convening of the National Conference by the President.

4. That none of these Committees either discussed or has made any recommendation or has even mentioned the issue of Presidential Declaration of a Moratorium in their reports as canvassed by Delegate Osung in the media.

5. That the National Conference, presided over by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON, did not at any point make the issue of tenure extension for any elected official part of a term of reference of any of the 20 Committees whose work were already completed before Chief Osung’s agenda was made public by him.

6. That neither President Goodluck Jonathan nor any of his associates or aides both within or outside the Conference circle has made any representation directly or indirectly or has spoken to any member of leadership or delegate to the Conference on the issue canvassed by Delegate Okon Osung.

7. Therefore, we are inclined to believe that Chief Okon Osung is acting on personal conviction or interest and is not, to the best of our knowledge, representative of any group participating in the National Conference. The only relationship Chief Okon Osung has with the National Conference is that he is one of the 492 delegates. Whatever views he is canvassing in this regard should be seen and regarded as purely his personal opinion which has absolutely nothing to do with the Conference.

•Photo shows National Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi.

Source: News Express

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