By Temidayo Akinsuyi.
President Muhammadu Buhari, was on Sunday, reminded of the need to review the stance of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and seriously consider implementing recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
Speaking in exclusive chat with Daily Independent on Sunday, renowned diplomat and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, warned against the yielding to the temptation to jettison the all-important recommendations, based on the feeling in some quarters that the conference was convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan for selfish reasons.
It would be recalled that the ruling APC boycotted the conference, which one of its national leaders, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described as a ‘Greek gift’.
Also, despite the plea by Jonathan that his successor should give the implementation of the conference report priority, the president has remained silent about it after 100 days in office.
Gambari, who served as the United Nations Under Secretary-General and Special Envoy to Darfur before his voluntary retirement, said it would be a pity if recommendations of the confab, in which 492 Nigerians from various backgrounds participated, are not implemented.
His words: “As regards the national conference, I have said it publicly and I will like to repeat it that it would be a pity if the reports are not implemented when you have 492 Nigerians who have come together for almost five months and produced recommendations that are in three categories.”
Gambari who was also a delegate to the conference said there are those things that can be implemented on the authority of the executive, while another set of recommendations require a change in existing laws and need to pass through the National Assembly.
A third category, he said, comprises “the few that require constitutional amendments which requires both the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.
“I think it will be a pity if those reports, about 20 on various subjects ranging from defence to security, revenue derivation, local government autonomy, foreign policies, the economy and so on, are not considered for implementation.
“All these reports were adopted by consensus. It will be a pity if we throw the baby out with the bath water simply because they have some feelings in some quarters that the conference was organised by the former president who had ulterior motives. In any case, whatever the ulterior motives were, they were not achieved.
“Some people even felt that the conference was convened in order to have a new constitution so as to prolong his tenure or to have a new arrangement of a six years single tenure for which former president Goodluck Jonathan will be eligible.
“In any case, none of those was achieved. The regime has gone. The Nigerian people voted him out and his administration. So, we should look at this report critically and those that are consistent with the vision and philosophy of the president and his party should be seriously considered for implementation,” Gambari said.
Gambari’s re-echoed a call by the Oodua Progressive Union “for the implementation of report of the National Conference.”
In a communiqué at the end of its second Europe Summit in Frankermaheerd, Amsterdam, Holland, made available to our correspondent on Sunday, OPU argued that implementing the report is “the only way to move Nigeria as a country forward based on the structural imbalances that affect progress which bring suspicions and lack of trust within various ethnic groups in Nigeria (more on page 20).”
Earlier in June, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese was quoted as saying “it will be totally irresponsible to suggest that the confab report should be thrown out of the window because Jonathan was believed to have had whatever motives… You can’t keep compiling reports and throwing them away,” he stressed.
Temidayo Akinsuyi, reporting for Daily Independent, Lagos.