The aggrieved delegates say the action does not bode well for the outcome of the conference.
Some delegates at the on-going National Conference have protested the decision of the principal officers to withdraw the power of committee members to select their chairmen and deputies.
Addressing journalists before the plenary on Thursday, Abdulwaheed Omar, the spokesperson of the aggrieved delegates, said thwarting a decision already agreed by delegates was not acceptable.
“We are protesting against something that is being brought through the back door; the decision of the committee to select their chairmen and deputies at the committee level. This decision was concluded by delegates at the plenary, only for it to resurface through the Committee of 50, who are only mandated to talk about the voting pattern. The leadership of the conference is using the Committee of 50 to come up with something they were not originally mandated to discuss and we are saying this is the beginning of a dangerous pattern,” Mr. Omar, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, said.
He declared that if the trend was allowed to continue, the desired outcome of the conference may not be achieved.
He said, “We are afraid if we go by this trend, only God knows what other things will be manipulated again in the same way. We are saying we have to practice democracy and we are demanding that this decision be reversed so that we will go back to the popular decision. In 2005, it was the committees that selected their leaders, why will it be different this time?”
On March 20, an amendment to the Rule was proposed at the conference, that committee members should select their chairmen and deputy chairmen from among themselves. Arguments for and against the proposal were canvassed by many delegates and when the conference Chairman, Idris Kutigi, a retired justice, put it to a voice vote, the “Ayes” had it.
However, the leadership of the conference, on Monday, rescinded the power of the delegates to appoint their chairmen and vice chairmen at the committee level. This followed a motion by Muhammed Kumalia (North-East) that the position taken on Order XII of the Draft Rules of Procedure be rescinded. The Rule had proposed that the Chairman, in consultation with the Vice-chairman and the Secretary, should choose the committee chairmen and secretaries.
Representatives of civil society organisations at the conference had on Wednesday written to the leadership to also protest the reversal of the decision. The delegates said since plenary had agreed that committees choose their leaders, it would be improper of the conference leadership to reverse such decision.
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