Update: National Conference ends, delegates adopt final report

The National Conference, which began on March 17, came to an end on Thursday morning.

The series of meetings the Confab chairman, Idris Kutigi, held with zonal leaders on Wednesday paid off as the delegates agreed on a position on the controversial draft constitution.

The confab ended with a minor amendment to the third volume of its report, replacing the draft constitution to read “Resolutions of the conference as draft amendments to 1999 constitution.”

The motion for the adoption of the confab report was jointly sponsored by Jerry Okwuonu and former Rivers state Governor, Peter Odili “to mandate the secretariat to vet and effect amendment to the three reports prepared by the secretariat.”

In the motion, the two delegates stated that: “Whereas the secretariat has done a very marvellous job of compiling the report of the Conference and presenting same to us in easily readable and cross-checkable format; and whereas delegates have perused all the reports and submitted in writing all items of omission or incorrect addition to the final report; and bearing in mind the dual necessity of bringing the conference to a close for purposes of not unduly over-reaching the logistics provision of the conference and not unnecessarily prolonging the continued conglomeration of people in contradiction to the prescription of Health Authorities especially as the country tackles the Ebola crisis. It is hereby moved that the secretariat be mandated to vet all the written submission by delegates and make necessary correction thereby providing the final draft of the Conference reports.”

Another motion to slightly amend the earlier motion was taken for a change in the nomenclature of one of the volumes of the reports from Draft Constitution to Proposed Amendments to the 1999 Constitution was moved by another delegate Adamu Waziri.

Reading a copy of his motion, Mr. Waziri noted that the Secretariat of the Conference had, on August 11, tabled before delegates a draft report contained in three volumes that were broken down into seven chapters.

“In particular, we observed that Volume III, titled Draft Constitution, conveyed an attempt to insert various resolutions and recommendations of a constitutional nature that were adopted by the Conference as proposed amendments to the appropriate sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

“We recall and welcome the clarification and confirmation offered by Conference Chairman at plenary on August 13, 2014 that indeed Volume III contains proposals for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. We urged the leadership of the Conference, in collating the final report, to more appropriately designate Volume 111 as: Draft Proposals to Amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,” he said.

Mr. Waziri then urged fellow delegates to pass the motion and bring the confab to an end.

Mr. Kutigi called on Richard Akinjide to formally move a motion for the adoption of the final Conference Report.

Mr. Akinjide, while moving the motion, recalled his days in parliament before Nigeria gained independence and also after independence and noted that it was an honour to be called upon to move a motion for the adoption of the final report of a “very successful conference”.

The youngest delegate to the Conference, 24-year-old Yadoma Mandara, seconded the motion.

Shortly after, delegates took turns to pour encomium on the leadership of the Conference for their maturity in steering the conference proceedings.

A former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah, gave a very moving vote of thanks which received spontaneous applause from delegates.

A delegate representing the South South, Orok Duke, read out a farewell poem titled “How Can We Say Farewell” to the delegates.

After adoption of votes and proceedings for the day based on a motion by Josephine Anenih and seconded by Bello Mohammed, Mr. Kutigi called on the Lamido Adamawa, Mohammed Mustapha, to move a motion for the closure of the Conference.

Mike Ahamba, who seconded the motion, said Thursday was a day of pride and honour because “when we came here, nobody expected us to end this way…We have disappointed the sceptics.”

With that comment, the 2014 National Conference inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan on March 17, 2014 came to a close.

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