The Secretariat of the National Conference, on Thursday in Abuja, released the Draft Rules of Proceedings to guide the conduct of the delegates to the conference.
The Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications of the Conference, Akpandem James, said that the rules would be adopted by the delegates on Monday.
“The Draft Rules and the 1999 Constitution have been ready since 6 a.m. this morning and we have made them available to the delegates to study. However, it is only a draft; it is going to be debated clause by clause by the delegates on Monday. If they (delegates) adopt it, then it becomes the Rules guiding the conference. But if there is any clause they feel should be amended or rejected, then they will decide at the plenary on Monday. What we are trying to do as a secretariat is to make the delegates as comfortable as possible to ensure smooth proceedings throughout the conference,” Mr. James said.
Some of the delegates had already collected copies of the Draft Rules and the 1999 Constitution. They also said that they had begun studying the “voluminous” reports of previous conferences that were given to them at their inaugural meeting on Tuesday.
A former Plateau Governor, Fidelis Tapgun, who is a delegate to the conference, said that delegates were already studying copies of the rules of procedures for the plenary and the constitution.
Mr. Tapgun said that the procedures would have to be debated and adopted first before the plenary could really commence business on Monday.
“The documents are the Report of the Political Bureau and the past Constitutional Conferences set up by (Olusegun) Obasanjo, (Ibrahim) Babangida and (Sani) Abacha. We often see that committees are set up and nothing is done with their reports. But we think that this time around, the President is determined that we would look at all the past reports and put them in one paper that will be useful to this country,” Mr. Tapgun said.
According to him, the documents are needed by the delegates as references that will guide them in their proceedings.
“We are going to continue making references to them so that we are properly guided and not work at cross purposes. There were certain things that were raised in those reports that were not implemented in the past, which we feel if implemented, may help. We will also see their relevance and see if they are relevant to our present conference, we will see how we can raise them again,” he said.
A spokesperson for pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said the documents would give delegates an insight into the past.
“The documents can be useful in terms of giving insights into what has happened in the past and giving foresight to where we should be,” Mr. Odumakin said.
He, however, said that the documents were archival materials.
“The Reports of the Abacha and Obasanjo Political Reform Conferences were the kind of things packed in those big bags. It is part of the challenge we are facing as a nation; the world has gone beyond giving bags,” he said.
The conference held its inaugural meeting on Tuesday and adjourned till Monday, March 24 to resume in plenary.