Why I refused to interfere in National Conference – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said the peaceful conclusion of the National Conference has put to shame cynics who never gave it a chance to succeed.

He also explained why his administration did not intervene in the affairs of the Conference while it lasted.

The president made the remarks after receiving the report of the Conference from its Chairman, Idris Kutigi, on behalf of the delegates and leadership at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

Mr. Jonathan inaugurated the 492-member Confab on March 17 at the same venue he performed the closing ceremony on Thursday.

The event had in attendance, members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the Diplomatic Corps and other prominent Nigerians in attendance.

The Conference sat for nearly five months and made about 600 recommendations contained in the report presented to the president.

Mr. Jonathan recounted that when he convoked the Conference there were those who claimed that he had ulterior motives in doing so and also raised a false alarm about a phantom hidden agenda.

According to him, they did not only question the sincerity of his administration on the project, but also tried to derail it.

He recounted that on the occasion of the 53rd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria in 2013, he made a promise to set a national conversation in motion in order to advance the course of nation-building.

He said the agitation had been there for a while and that his administration could no longer ignore or delay the process.

He explained that he was motivated by a genuine desire to make the country a better place where consensus could be built in the evolution of a New Nigeria.

He stated that when he was inaugurating the Presidential Advisory Committee led by Femi Okurounmu in December, 2013, he made it very clear to the committee that it was a sincere and fundamental undertaking, aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, longstanding impediments to Nigeria’s cohesion and harmonious development as a truly united nation.

Mr. Jonathan also said at the inauguration of the National Conference in March, he told the delegates the expectation of his administration, one of which was to patriotically articulate and synthesise the people’s thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria.
He said he also urged the participants to forge the broadest possible national consensus in the process and warned them not to be under any illusions about the task ahead because they would be confronted with complex and emotive issues.

“I am very satisfied that the delegates navigated these obstacles in a very mature manner,” Mr. Jonathan said.

“There were those who set out to input ulterior motives to our modest efforts at reshaping and strengthening the foundations of our nationhood to deliver better political cohesion and greater development agenda. The naysayers raised false alarms over some phantom hidden agenda and called to question our sincerity and did everything possible to derail this noble project. The success of this conference has proved the cynics wrong in many respects,” he said.

“Those who dismissed the entire conference ab initio as a “diversion” have been proved wrong as what you achieved has contrary to their forecast diverted our country only from the wrong road to the right direction. They said the conference would end in a deadlock as Nigeria had reached a point where the constituent parts could no longer agree on any issue. We exploded that myth by suggesting that you should arrive at your decisions by consensus or 75 per cent majority threshold.”

The president expressed gladness that “after a nearly five months endeavour to find the appropriate verb for the noun of our country within the syntax of human experience,” the delegates brought to a grateful nation the report.

Mr. Jonathan thanked the conferees for their hard work, noting that their tireless efforts aimed at coming up with recommendations to chart a path of peaceful coexistence, sustainable development, justice and progress as Nigeria marched into its second centenary, would not be in vain.

He said the Conference had achieved one of its aims, namely that Nigerians now had platform for a genuine and sincere dialogue.

He said, “To my mind, one of the main reasons for which the Conference was convoked was fully achieved: that is, to create a platform for a genuine and sincere dialogue among Nigerians. Even in moments when things seemed ready to boil over, it was evident that the Delegates were only disagreeing to agree. It is now very clear that as Nigerians, we have devised a way of addressing and resolving our differences amicably: we dialogue and dialogue until we agree! This is most heart-warming indeed!”

The president said he and his administration deliberately refused to intervene in the affairs of the Conference while it lasted despite its challenges.

He narrated that when the Confab had its first challenge and it appeared it was going to break up, there were suggestions that the administration should intervene to “save” it but that he insisted that beyond inauguration the government would not intrude in any manner.

He explained, “One of the many reasons for our non-interference is this: we have at the conference, 492 delegates and six conference officials who all in their individual rights are qualified to lead our great country and if they were unable to agree on how to take decisions, we would be in real trouble! Acknowledging the quality and patriotic content of the delegates, I was confident the right thing will be done.”

Mr. Jonathan congratulated Mr. Kutigi and his team, the delegates, all Nigerians and everyone who contributed in one way or the other to the successful convocation and conclusion of the Conference.

He also congratulated the defunct Presidential Advisory Committee, which developed the framework for the Conference after travelling around Nigeria.

According to him, “We cannot afford to take for granted the efforts and commitment that the delegates and the leaders put into the Conference to make it a success. The patriotic zeal was evident in the inputs of the delegates into the dialogue and how these have now formed the basis of the report.”

Mr. Jonathan assured that the report would be implemented and that the work done by the delegates would not be a waste time and resources.

“As I receive the report of your painstaking deliberations, let me assure that your work is not going be a waste of time and resources. We shall do all we can to ensure the implementation of your recommendations which have come out of consensus and not by divisions. In this regard I appeal to all arms of government and the people of Nigeria to be ready to play the different roles that the volumes of reports you have produced would assign to you. It is my hope that with what you have done our country is on the right road to getting the job of nation building done.”

The president also paid tribute to the four delegates who died during the period of the Conference. He prayed God to grant eternal repose to their souls and protect the families they left behind.


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  • redeem

    For how long are we going to reside in a country—-called nijeria—–where the voice of the fulani north is law unto the nation—-no other view matters—–to them—–what we have today from the confab is the voice of the fulani north and not that of the entire nation—————–how can we have a confab which was created to restructure the country run away from that assignment—————-the fulanis and the Tivs have been killing each other for yrs–since the creation of an LGA by IBB———boroms and fulanis—do not see eye to eye——yet not a single voice was added to their plight———-are we going to come back and wail at the plight of the natives being killed daily in the north central—–that the oil bearing communities do not have a right——–to their oil wells——-that theirs is the pollution they suffer–acid rain and gas flares- and the rivers that they cannot drink from———————–the land they cannot till—-because of some 18 percent rubbish? And they cannot have their own states——————————-yet have Nigeria be taken care of from the resources found on their God given land————–was that what we had when cocoa–ati their absract cottons ati groundnut-use to be the main revenue earners—————–i have witnessed the insult poured on the president from the day turai was induced to say —naaaaa–to him–by the regional cabal –the tripod-brother me——-the situation looks too bleak for comfort–too scary for the shoe less legs of my kids–in d creeks—-separation–is the answer biko—-without a fight—with boko haram—just let us split-we have been feeding these our tree since 1957———-time to say goodbye is now——–freedom in poverty is better riches in slavery-biko

    • I Hate Sycophant Truly

      I hope other tribes will not send you to your early grave?

  • Ovie Obaro Epkemupolodofu

    Let freedom reign.

    From the oily creeks of the mangrove swamps of Warri Kingdom to the clement and mineral rich mountains of Obudu
    Ranch in Calabar,Let freedom reign…From the rich Benin river basins in Edo to the palm olive haven & crude oil reserves of the Abia red earth, Let freedom reign.

    From the great Onitsha bridge-the land flowing with oil, inventors & entrepreneurs, to the rich Royal waters of Bonny land & its priceless natural gas, let freedom reign…

    From the oil laden land & water of the Ogoni peoples to oil rich plains of Eket in Akwa Ibom, Let freedom reign…From Enugu coal & bitumen reserves to the tranquility of the rich oil deposits of River Ethiope. Let freedom reign.

    How long more do we have to wait? My Dear Niger Delta! How long! Nigeria destroys our lands, wastes our money in building infrastructure which are soon bombed by the unproductive.

    1. Norway = 4.7 million peoples (They have the highest standard of living on earth. Norway is oil producing)

    2. Delta State = 5.1 million peoples (They have the poorest standard of living on earth. Delta is oil producing)

    3. Rivers State = 5.7 million peoples (They have about the poorest standard of living on earth, Rivers is oil producing)

    My dear South South Kingdoms of continent Nigeria, it is time to practically take our destiny in our hands. Like Scotland will do in September to decide whether to remain as part of UK, The Niger Delta and any dissatisfied region for that matter, should be able to decide, via a referendum, whether or not such a region/country wants to continue to be part of continent Nigeria.

    Dear Niger Deltans, we have more than the population to form our own independent countries. Don’t be deceived by the idiots who tell you otherwise. The army is never a problem bcos we are all born militant freedom fighters, we have Okagbare & others in sports, we have comedians in excess, we have scientists and even world acclaimed local oil refining technology, etc

    So, we are ready. It is time for us to take the Bull not just by its horns but also by its broukous. Secession?
    YES!- The fierce urgency of NOW. Secession will end bombings and the homogeneous North will be happy to implement its sharia and nobody will have reason to make a country ungovernable via wanton destruction of lives & property bcos his tribesman is not President .

    Long live the Niger Delta Republic

  • Thecreed

    Ebola Jonadaft has started on the wrong footings again, what has the council of states got to do with the Confab report? Mind you any attempt at tenure elongation shall be resisted! In other news, come 2015! Power must change hands!!

    • Somi

      Power must change hands to where or to whom? He was elected by the people and would definitely be re-elected again 2015, name one person who is likely going to run the election with him that is half as competence as Jonathan is.

      • I Hate Sycophant Truly

        He’s the best in you clan, so you can never see others that are far better. When the time comes we shall see the rest and choose from them. I know we have many political parties.

    • Somi

      It think it’s really important for you to note that the implementation of the report cannot be made by Jonathan alone, there are parts that needs to be sent to the national assembly to pass the bill first before any implementation is done. And the only way u can resist anything is by casting your own vote, while others do too, and whatever candidate emerges winner takes it. our vote is our voice bro.

    • Aladi

      Jonathan come 2015…2019. You cannot resist it. Watch the space!

      • Thecreed

        power belongs to the people, come 2015! Power must change hands!! Deal with it!!!

        • Aladi

          You don’t need to get yourself worked up, Insha Allah we shall see what happens come 2015. Just make sure u come out to cast your vote on the day of election. Your vote is your voice.

    • john micheals

      You don’t even have a point. where you expecting the national council of state not to see the report ? Come and change the hands of power lets see.

      • Thecreed

        Your point is pointless jonathanian, cluelessness is truely contagious. Like principal,like slave boy. I repeat the council of States has no role whatsoever to play in the confab report other than to just advice which is not even binding. Nothing more. Power belongs to the people and it must change hands come 2015! Enough is enough, deal with it!!!

        • john micheals

          Why are you shooting yourself in the foot ? Would they advice without seeing the report ? If power changes hand , its not my business am not an oafish partisan party addict like you. You claim to be full of clues and you don’t know the NCS have to see the reports ? Pathetic !!!

  • john micheals

    The CONFAB has been a huge success and the President deserve plaudits in initiating that idea, We hope their reports will contain resolutions that will lead this country forward. God bless Nigeria

  • I Hate Sycophant Truly

    You didn’t not interfere directly but does indirectly by planting your kinsmen and friends at the Confab. Let me hear word. Lamido of Adamawa was the first to complain that. They started with radicalism, until he complained and they pipe low secretly.

    • john micheals

      Go and find out properly the people that caused the conflicts, They are not from the south, it was more of some delegates coming with personal extreme fixations

      • I Hate Sycophant Truly

        I don’t really know where they come from but that was his complain then.