“The youths, which have a population of about 80 million of Nigerians, are represented with only 18 delegates at this conference.”
Delegates to the National Conference on Wednesday in Abuja agreed that the secretariat should call for memoranda from the public on issues to be deliberated upon.
The Chairman, retired Justice Idris Kutigi threw the suggestion back to the delegates at the resumed plenary.
“Do you authorise the secretariat to call for submission of memoranda from the public and for how long?’’
Most of the delegates answered: “Yes, for two weeks”.
However, there were few dissenting voices, who said calling for memoranda would be a waste of time.
Mosumola Umoru, a youth delegate, said that memoranda would ensure that the voice of majority of Nigerians were heard, pointing out that some segments of the country were under-represented at the conference.
“The youth, which have a population of about 80 million of Nigerians, are represented with only 18 delegates at this conference.
“We have set up a group via twitter and other social media to collate the views and recommendations of the youth population with regards to direction at this conference.
“If we call for memoranda, it will increase the contribution of Nigerians toward the process of developing a new nation,’’ she said.
Adeze Uwuzor, a delegate representing Ebonyi, also supported the idea of memoranda from the public.
“Let it not look as if we are selfish here. Memoranda are necessary but the secretariat can summarise them so that all Nigerians can be heard.”
Dozie Ikedife, a delegate representing the South East, said: “The conference owes it a duty to ensure that everybody makes an input.
“This is democracy, we should invite the public to make input,” she said.
Felicia Sanni, a delegate representing the market women, also supported memoranda, saying that the opinion of 492 delegates could not cover the whole country
In her contribution, Josephine Anenih, an elder stateswoman, however, said that there “is no need for memoranda considering the available time for the conference.’’
She advised the delegates to consult with the people they were representing from Friday to Sunday, when the plenary would be on adjournment.
“We should be mindful of the timeframe that we have; we have spent almost two weeks and if we start calling for memoranda, it will take up our time.
“I do not think it is necessary; we came from several zones and interest groups and we sit here from Monday to Thursday.’’
Bello Mohammed, a delegate representing Kebbi, however, noted that the Presidential Advisory Council on the conference had already gone round the country to collate memoranda.
“Nigerians indicated issues they will like the conference to address in these memoranda and advised the secretariat to get the memoranda so as to save time,’’ he said.
Kunle Olajide, an elder statesman, said that the memoranda that were submitted to the advisory council were specifically to state the form which the ongoing conference should assume.
“The memoranda that were submitted to the advisory council were specifically for the modality of organising this conference and they have specific titles to which they were supposed to address.
“As we speak here today, all Nigerians want to know what goes on here and it will be right and proper if we advertise for memoranda.
“Let them (Nigerians) send in their views because now, we are discussing issues that pertain to re-launching Nigeria,” he said.
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