Nigeria's National Confab Wobbles Into Existence Despite Cynicism

When the idea was made public last year during the October 1 nationwide broadcast by President Goodluck Jonathan, there were expressions of reservation.
It was alleged that the President may have initiated the idea to divert attention from his government and to rock the people to sleep while plotting on his re-election agenda.

There was also the allegation that the President was desperately seeking legitimacy for his lack-lustre style of administration.

When he constituted the advisory committee on the dialogue headed by Femi Okurounmu, and when the team began to visit the geo-political zones, in some places, the reception was not all that cordial. Doubts and pessimism were the expressions of many, including some state governors who openly dismissed the proposal as dead on arrival.

The modalities for delegates’ selection and other issues such as the role the National Assembly should or not play on the product of the dialogue also generated heated arguments. Added to other areas of disagreement was the omission or non-inclusion of some groups, associations and ethnic nationalities.

Many Nigerians picked holes in the suggestion that the decision of the delegates at the end of the day would be subject to ratification by the National Assembly. According to those who oppose any such arrangement, the product of the dialogue should rather be subjected to a referendum to make it the “people’s document”.

Some pundits were of the opinion that the President just wanted to make some people millionaires ahead of the elections in 2015, in order to attract huge support to his re-election.

Despite the misgivings, the National Conference, which is expected to last for three months, will today kick off in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
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  1. At last some voices would be heard. This is good move as a nation most especially in a turbulent time like this. If juduciously used, this will serve as a platform for the harmonization and more definitive unity of the Nigeria state. I hope delegates would be objective in their presentations and argument rather than been subjective. Kudos to the Nigeria nation!



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