2014 Confab And The Democratic Sustainability: Reason For Implementation.

What makes democracy as a form of government different from all other forms, is nothing but its foundation on the citizenry. The system revolves round the people,  and that is why it is the government OF the people BY the people and FOR the people.   Therefore, a country where this is practice, the supremacy of the people’s law otherwise known as the constitution is sacrosanct.  And it is the constitution that controls the activities of the people. It’s also allows when necessary, for amendment process to meet the changing times and situations.

    However, a National Conference otherwise known as CONFAB could be summoned to address certain issues of concern  so as to enhance the continuous existence of the people. Although some have argued that unlike the familiar “Constitutional” conferences held both under the colonial period and military rule, the motive or purpose for calling these “National Conferences” by Nigeria Presidents have never been clear to all Nigerians,  that on the contrary they have tended to be gimmick used by the Presidents to push through certain agenda that they fear cannot possibly pass through the National Assembly, hence the Presidents are quick to discard and abandon reports of these conferences once they failed to get what they wanted. I do not submit to this view in its entirety, because there could be sense in every nonsense. There might just be a good resolutions from any such conferences.  A confab may be a form of National Conference or a Sovereign National Conference as the case may be, or like the one convoked by President Obasanjo in 2005 called “National Political Reform Conference”. Most times, some people especially leaders prefer the National Conference than the sovereign one as this latter may undermine their position in the scheme of things.

     Consequently, considering the tension brewing in the nation at the time,  the past regime of President Goodluck Jonathan decided to convoked the 2014 National Conference. The call was to discuss inter alia the fears, grievances, disappointments, aspirations and hopes of the various ethnic groupings in the country. Notwithstanding, there has been 3 similar conferences since the post independent history of the country call Nigeria thus; 1978, 1995, 2005 and of course the 2014. Among this conferences, we are told that the 2014 is the most arduous due to the time frame given to the 492 members to submit their report/resolutions. There were over 600 resolutions, and these resolutions did not deal with frivolous or inconsequential issues. No wonder the Chairman of the Confab Justice Kutigi JSC(rtd) said that “we showed courage in tackling substantial and fundamental issues.” And in confirmation to this fact, Prof Wole Soyika recently attested to this when he said that ” The confab report that came under Jonathan is even more superior to the one that I participated in as a member of PRONACO”. He added that “The recommendations strike me as workable, practicable and in fact, as answering some of the anxieties of this nation”. Adding to this voice, is the subtle submission of Is’haq Modibbo Kawu (now DG of NBC) when he said “…on a final note,  we can conclude that many good things came out of the National Conference, 2014. Hopefully,  we shall see them implemented.”

    The final document has 22 volumes of approximately 10,335 (ten thousand, three hundred and thirty five) pages. Among the resolutions are the issues of IMMUNITY CLAUSE which the members agreed to be expunged from the constitution if the offences attract criminal charges to encourage accountability by those managing the economy. This issue of immunity clause was also touched in the 1995 and 2005 conferences. The reason(s) why this has not be enshrined in the constitution live much to be questioned. There is also the issue of INDEPENDENT CANDIDACY. That every Nigerian who meets the specified conditions in the Electoral Act should be free to contest elections as an independent candidate. There is the issue of LOCAL GOVERNMENT,  which to me was not properly treated. That there will no longer be the Third tier of government. That the Federal and States are now to be the only ties of government. I do not succumb to this for the simple reason that it is only the Local Government that is closer to the people and not the two others that are high up there. So merging them with the states would be an action in futility. There was also a resolution to create 18 additional States to add up with the 36 we already have. I do not see any defect in this, as the more the merrier. More States would bring about speedy development in the country, as some States have been created due to the previous confab resolution, like Bayelsa and Ekiti States respectively. In all, the conference was a success and as said by the Chairman “we have finally lain to rest the apprehension that a National Conference will lead to the disintegration of Nigeria. We have held a National Conference and we are more United today than ever”. This statement brings to mind the prediction of the United States of America that Nigeria as a nation would not exist come 2015. But today we are still one nation despite the various revolts and agitations from the South East and South South, killings by Boko Haram and the Herdmen in the North East and all part of the nation, we still are one Nigeria.

    Furthermore,  for this past one year and some months of President Buhari administration, one would have expected that a statement would have been issued on this very vital documents whose resolutions were reached and passed by people of the 6 geographical areas of this nation. But nothing has been done. And sad to say that recently,  the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal has pronounced that the conference was ” a job for the boys”, therefore this administration does not have the time luxury to look into the document.  This is sad I must say. A confab that people from all over the 6 geographical areas of the country attended and huge sum of money spent and at the end somebody is saying it’s just a job for the boys? I do not want to believe that this is also the thought of Mr President who I know is very circumspective on issues that bother on the co-existence of the nation. Maybe if some of the resolutions have been implemented, there would not have been the various revolt and agitations from the South East and the destruction of pipelines by the Niger-Delta boys.

    Concluding therefore,  I want to join those who want the resolutions from the 2014 confab be implemented for the sake of peace and for the sake of those who sat for hours, days, weeks and months to make sure a document such as this came out. And also for the sake of those who died in the cause of this meeting (may their souls rest in peace). The resolutions  should be implemented at least to prove the critics who vehimently said that this confab would go no where wrong, like Comrade Oshomhole who has said that this will end the way others before it ended. And also not to be like what Prof Wole Soyinka has said that “we have a habit of consigning files to the dust shelves and then we start all over again”.

    In democracy the people have their voices, so let them lead. Thanks for your time.

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I am a 5.8 ft man, hails from Oredo in Benin. I am married with kids.

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