National Conference disowns delegate plotting tenure elongation for Jonathan

The National Conference has disowned a South-South delegate, Okon Osung, who has in the past few days been plotting the elongation of the tenures of President Goodluck Jonathan and other political office holders in Nigeria by 18 months.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Conference, through its Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications, Akpandem James, strongly disassociated itself from Mr. Osung and his campaign.

It insisted that tenure elongation was never part of the Conference terms of reference and was never discussed in any of its plenary or Committee sittings.

Mr. Osung, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, [NUJ] in the then Cross River State had on Friday, called for the elongation of the tenure of Mr. Jonathan and others by 18 months.

The delegate, who addressed journalists in Abuja, had said, “At this crucial juncture in our national history, a Presidential or National Assembly declaration of a politico-administrative moratorium or cooling-off period before the conduct of the third Transitional Elections scheduled for February 2015 has become an imperative necessity.

“This calls for a postponement of the or deferment of the scheduled 2015 Elections by at least 18 months while retaining all the democratic institutions at all levels of governance and across the entire spectrum of the country’s political divide, without any bias to the statutory termination dates of such democratic institutions.”

But the leadership of the Conference said the views expressed by Mr. Osung were entirely personal and should not be interpreted as the position of the National Conference or any of its Committees.

The explanation, Mr. James, said, was necessary to forestall members of the public from viewing Mr. Osung’s campaign as one of the agenda of the Conference.

Part of the statement reads, “The views expressed by Mr. Osung regarding tenure extension for any elected official, based on any reasons cited by him, are entirely personal to him and must not be viewed or regarded to, in any way, have any anything whatsoever to do with the National Conference or any of its Committees.

“Such views were never expressed on the floor of the Conference, which did not sit in plenary, as at the time the views were made public. It was never heard, never debated or discussed in any manner whatsoever in any of the Committees whose reports are already with the management of the Conference.

“Both the leadership of the Conference and the other 491 members only read about them in the media just as members of the public did.”

The Conference also noted that Mr. Osung never submitted his controversial position to any of its 20 Committees.

It explained that neither Mr. Jonathan nor any of his aides contacted the leadership and or delegates to present the issue of tenure elongation as canvassed by Mr. Osung.

The statement continued, “None of the Committees either discussed or has made any recommendation or has even mentioned the issue of Presidential Declaration of a Moratorium in their reports as canvassed by delegate Osung in the media.

“We are, therefore, inclined to believe that Mr. Osung is acting on personal conviction or interest and is not, to the best of our knowledge, representative of any group participating in the National Conference.

“The only relationship Mr. Osung has with the National Conference is that he is one of the 492 delegates. Whatever views he is canvassing in this regard should be seen and regarded as purely his personal opinion which has absolutely nothing to do with the Conference.”

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