Conference Modalities Out; Nigeria's Division Barred From Discussion Says FG

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The federal government has finally released modalities for the proposed national conference which is billed to last for three months with a total of 492 delegates participating.

It however declared that the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria are areas barred from delegates’ discussion and as such would constitute “no-go areas”.

The secretary to the government of the federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who released modalities for the conference to journalists yesterday, said that the nomination of delegates has been scheduled to take place between January 30 and February 20, 2014.

President Goodluck Jonathan is to nominate 77 delegates for the conference, while the 36 state governors are to collectively nominate 109 delegates. The balance will be nominated by stakeholders according to specified stratas.

According to Anyim, the delegates President Jonathan will nominate consist of elder statesmen, one per state and the FCT, which makes it 37; outstanding youths and role models, one per geopolitical zone; judiciary (persons not currently serving on the bench), six in numbers; chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of the conference delegates (geopolitical spread to be observed) which are three in number; and the Federal Government of Nigeria, which will have 20 delegates.

He also said that some other delegates which will be nominated by stakeholders will come from retired military and security personnel, retired civil servants, National Youth Council of Nigeria, NANS, market women associations, FIDAN, NAWOJ, WINBIZ, Muslim and Christian leaders and people living with disabilities, one each from six geopolitical zones.

Others to be nominated by stakeholders, according to Anyim, are traditional rulers, two per zone and one from the FCT; organised private sector, Nigeria Youth Organisation, women groups like NCWS, two per geopolitical zone; political parties that have representatives in the National Assembly like PDP, APC, APGA, Accord Party and Labour Party, two delegates from each party.

Anyim said the state governors will nominate delegates from their governments and the FCT, three per state and one from the FCT based on senatorial district, with at least one woman, which total 109 in number; where the state governors fail to nominate the delegates, the president shall nominate the required number from the state.

The apex socio-political group of the north, Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), and its counterpart in the south-west, the Afenifere, gave support to the modalities, adding that the conference was a step in the right direction..

However the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC)  in its reaction said it has not changed its position on the national dialogue but would consult over the state representations. 

The Interim national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said there’s nothing that has happened in the conference procedures to make the APC change its mind.

Lai said: “What is there that would make us change our position? Has anything happened that could make us change our position? We stand by our position. It is a deceit, fraud and a diversionary tactic to cover up the failure of the PDP.”

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