Posted by News Express | 13 August 2014 | 3,160 times
A few days to the end of the 2014 National Conference convened by President Goodluck Jonathan in Mach, all is not well among the delegates.
The confab may end in chaos over alleged plan by the leadership of the conference to saddle itself with producing a “new constitution” for the country from the proceedings of the conference in the last five months.
Consequently, the Northern Delegates Forum (NDF), an umbrella body of all delegates from the North irrespective of the primary organisation they are representing at the conference, has rejected a part of the draft final reports of the conference, which is called “New Draft Constitution 2014”.
The position of the NDF may set the stage for a showdown with the conference’s leadership and other delegates with opposing views when delegates resume this morning.
At a press briefing yesterday after an emergency meeting at Gombe Jewel Hotel in Abuja, NDF’s co-chairman and former inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Coomassie, said they rejected the idea of a “new constitution” while they were calling on “stakeholders of all persuasions” to reject the conference’s outcome. He added that NDF members were neither privy to nor were accessory to the controversial document.
The briefing was attended by prominent northern delegates including retired General Jeremiah Useni, Justice Mamman Nasir, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, retired General Salihu Ibrahim, Bashir Dalhatu, and Hon. Muhammed Kumalia, while another co-chairman of the group, Prof. Jerry Gana, was conspicuously absent.
Before adjourning proceedings to this morning, delegates had earlier resumed from a month-long recess last Monday to receive the draft report of the conference ahead of its consideration and onward submission to the federal government.
The report came in three huge volumes as aggregates of proposals made by the delegates at the end of plenary in July. One part deals with constitutional issues where it is proposed to delegates to either consider the various resolutions of the conference as amendments to the 1999 Constitution or treat them as a “new constitution”.
The second part covers resolutions meant for enactment into Acts by the National Assembly while the third part contains policy issues suggested for implementation by the president.
NDF however said it was rejecting the “new constitution” part of the report and “emphatically” dissociated itself from it while it would have nothing to do with it for legal, moral and political reasons. The delegates further aid they were surprised, shocked and disappointed by the development, having raised the alarm earlier in June and the story was denied by the conference leadership.
Coomassie said: “From the foregoing, it is now abundantly clear that the conference has
been infiltrated by fifth columnists whose goal is to subvert democratic processes and plunge the country into deeper but avoidable political crisis.
“We, northern delegates to the conference, wish to assure patriotic Nigerians, and all lovers of democracy, that we are neither privy to nor were we accessory to the emergence of the controversial ‘New Draft Constitution 2014’. We, therefore, unequivocally disown it, and emphatically dissociate ourselves from it.
“If not arrested, the third term agenda, as in the past (2005), is capable of plunging Nigeria into another circle of political chaos with potential of violence and anarchy.
“We, as pan-Nigerians and democrats, reject this agenda, in its entirety and call on stakeholders of all persuasions and institutions especially political parties, national and state houses of assembly, the media, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, women, youths, etc., to reject same, and continue to champion and uphold democratic principles as enshrined in the constitution and other legitimate sources of lawmaking.”
•Text courtesy of LEADERSHIP. Photo shows NDF Co-chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie.
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