Tension At Confab As Delegates Fail To Agree On Voting Pattern, Adoption Of Rules And Proceedings

Delegates on Monday, 24th March, 2014, were divided over the voting pattern and appointment of the chairmen and vice chairmen of various proposed committees at the National Conference.

The brouhaha over the voting pattern and appointment of the heads of committees began during adoption of the proposed National Conference proceedings and rules.

On voting pattern, while some delegates said that two-third should be adopted in a situation where by consensus cannot be reached by the delegates, others are of the opinion that three quarter should be adopted in situation where by consensus cannot be reached by the delegates.

Order 6, Rules 4 states that any questions proposed for decision in the conference shall be determined by consensus and when this is not achievable, by a three-quarter majority of the delegates present and voting.

Order 6, Rule 6b, the chairman shall, in consultation with the Deputy Chairman and Secretary, appoint the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the committees.

However, after heated debate among the delegates, it was agreed that delegates should appoint chairmen and deputy chairmen of the committees.

On the issue of voting pattern, delegates never agreed on the voting pattern until they went on break and when they the delegates resumed the issue was still the same. They however abandoned the section and proceed to another Rule.

On voting pattern, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), a Federal government delegate, said the draft rule must be reviewed.

“369 as the 3/4 of this conference is a number that is obviously humongous, elephantine and behemoth. As we go into the serous issues after adopting this rule, a lot of highly emotive, controversial issues and some demanding of primordial  sentiment would prop up.

“As a Federal government delegate, I will discourse from the perspective of a nationalist but there are many delegates here who are from various strata of our society and have their own issues, such as state police, which I vehemently believe in, regionalism or the form of government we are going to take, when such emotive and controversial issues arise, how do we get 75 percent or 3/4 because it is going to be very difficult if there is no consensus.

“In other words, such issues are dead on arrival if we have to go by this rule.

“If we also have to go by this 75 percent rule, it means we are going to have a tyrannical minority if 74 percent of the delegates vote on an issue and the 26 percent voted against but can’t carry through because we have not the 75 percent mark.

“The result is that the 26 percent that voted against has actually won. So my suggestion is that we should tow the line of parliamentary standard across the world by adopting 2/3 majority,” Ozekhome said,

The adoption of rules and proceedings of the National Conference is inconclusive as debate on adoption of rules and proceedings  will continue on Tuesday, 25th March, 2014.

During the plenary at the National Conference, women complained of marginalization, lamenting that rules and proceedings of Conference only address men only.

Also, the Secretariat of the National Conference proposed twenty standing committees at the ongoing National conference.

The committees are, committee on Devolution of Power, committee on political restructuring and form of government, committee on National Conference, committee on Environment, Committee on Politics and Governance, Committee on Law, Judiciary, Human Right and Legal Reform.

Also, Committee on Social Welfare, Committee on Transport, Committee on Agriculture, Committee on Science and Technology and Development, Committee on Civil, Society, Labour and Sports, Committees on Public Service, Committee on Electoral Matters, Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters.

In addition, Committee on Land Tenure Matters and National Boundary, Committee on Trade and Investment, Committee on Energy, Committee on Religion, Committee on Public Finance and Revenue Generation and Committee on Immigration.

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