The Federal Government yesterday unveiled modalities for the proposed National Conference.
Highlights of the modalities include the duration of the conference which is three months, the number of the delegates which is 492 out of which President Jonathan will pick 114.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) smells a rat in the conference blueprint revealed by the FG. In the first instance, FG has arrogated too much power to itself by planning to pick 114 delegates out of 492.
President Jonathan alone wants to pick almost 25 percent of the total number of delegates. The race is finished before it starts.
We call on Nigerians to open their eyes. If it is true that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, delegates picked by the FG will have no other option than to articulate government’s position and seek to retain the status quo. The change for which Nigerians are yearning cannot materialize in that kind of environment.
Once bitten twice shy. Nigerians must not allow themselves to be cheated twice. Today was born from the wombs of yesterday. Only yesterday, this same government postulated an astounding mathematical theory which posited that 16 was higher than 19.
This happened during the election of the chairman of Nigerian governors. FG recognized Jonah Jang of Plateau State who scored 16 votes. To date, government has not deemed it fit to correct this anomaly.
If the margin between 16 and 19 is not wide enough to arouse our utmost disgust, what of the difference between 5 and 27? Only five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly allegedly got Aso Rock’s blessing to unseat the speaker who had the support of 27 members. These are nauseating instances which conscious Nigerians will continue to use as barometers to measure the clime in Jonathan’s government.
MURIC puts it to FG that it has a hidden agenda. The outcome of a conference heavily tilted in favour of government cannot be the will of the people but an imposition of President Jonathan’s will, contrary to Rousseau’s General Will, the will of the Nigerian people.
We also wish to reiterate our fear of a booby trap in FG’s plan for the National Conference. We speculate that the main preoccupation of FG’s 114 delegates will be to create as much confusion as possible in order to cause delay in taking decisions. This will necessitate request for extension of time and eventually culminate in clamour for postponement of the 2015 general election which the presidency will ‘reluctantly’ accede to. It is all an agenda for extension of tenure.
The time frame is too tight. FG’s plan as revealed to the unsuspecting Nigerian public lacks forward-looking strategic positioning. It is too close to the period of next general election. We have to choose one of the two: National Conference or general election? Whereas the 2015 general election is statutory, the proposed National Conference can be rescheduled without infringing upon the constitution. The proposed National Conference should therefore take place after the 2015 general election.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)