Jonathan says NO to national conference

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has rejected the call for a sovereign national conference asking those calling for the SNC to trust the “Presidential Committee on Outstanding Constitutional Issues,” headed by Justice Alfa Belgore.

“In recognition of the demands by Nigerians for a constitutional amendment, we set up the Justice Belgore Committee to bring up all those issues which have been agreed upon at previous national conferences, for presentation as bills to the National Assembly, and subsequent passage into law, while a larger body will meet on issues that are still controversial for a national consensus,” he said.

Mr. Jonathan made the statement at a meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja with some political leaders from the South West and South South part of the country.

The President, according to a statement by the office of the special adviser to the President, told the delegation that the Justice Belgore-led committee will “bring up areas of national consensus from the 2006 National Political Reform Conference for National Assembly’s consideration towards effecting constitutional amendments.”

Mr. Jonathan also told the committee that his administration would step up the fight against corruption by strengthening the anti-corruption agencies, and also reduce the number of parastatals.

The delegation had presented a communiqué of a meeting held between the two groups. Apart from calling for a national conference, the communiqué  also condemned the activities of Boko Haram, requested the withdrawal of troops from the streets to reduce tension, urged stronger prosecution of the war against corruption, and requested for a reduction of size and cost of governance.

We reject 1999 constitution

The delegation which was led by Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi for the South West and Chief Edwin Clarke for the South South said it rejects the 1999 Constitution.

“The 1999 constitution is neither just nor equitable to the overwhelming majority of Nigerians; neither does it promote development and good governance. The vast majority of our people are demanding a new constitution which will be of their own making,” they said.

The group while appreciating the transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration stated that “the success of any agenda is predicated on a stable and secure polity, with happy and contented citizens.”

In the absence of these, no agenda can succeed, no matter how laudable. And to achieve peace and stability, there must be justice and equity.”


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  • There is no doubt that President Goodluck Jonathan means well for Nigeria and Nigerians. In fact he has demonstrated his resolve to leave the country better than he met it, and is doing more. His sincere and transparent maner of tackling issues makes his mistakes easily forgivable. This was demonstrated in the way Labour and other Civil society groups showed understanding in the matter of Oil subsidy which is still an unresolved mystery to us: how a country that drills oil should be importing oil to the extent of spending Billions in subsidy. Or why Mr. President preferred to take Nebot’s vineyard to add to Ahabs orchards – sorry, that’s not a good image, Methinks that Mr. President should have taken a look at the disparity in public servants wages and hamonised the take home pay of all government functionaries be they civil or public. If that isn’t enough then the subsidy, but that is a concluded matter
    The discourse is on soveriegn national conference, SNC, one phenomenon successive presidents have tried to dodge. In fact one had the boldness to declare he will not preside over the breakup of Nigeria, as sitting to talk means deciding to go separate ways. The paranoid with which these elevated nigerians recieve every suggestion inthis reguard is tosay the least unfortunate. I thought that the essence of democracy is its capacity to accommodate views. why shouldn’t the majority have their say even when the minority may continue to have their way? Who says there’s insecurity in counsel? I know that in a multitude of counsel there’s safety. The SNC is intended to draw a roadmap to determine our nationhood. It will provide answers to the inballances we are experiencing. It will determine whether a sect by whatever name it is called should continue to harrass a nation with impunity and because it has home in one part of the country people from that part will pressure for negotiation against sanitary thinking. It will determine why a particular section of the country becomes the target in uprisings, ethnic or religious. It will determine how we shall share the wealth of the nation and shall bea spring board to more wealth etc.
    If the south-south and South-west held a meeting, was it not to chart a course for the two geopolitical zones? We have all along encouraged a handshake across the rivers, whichever that divides whoever; that is splendid but nobody takes anybody’s hands until they have made gestures- agreed to the handshake. I’m sure Mr. President is not afraid. All he needs is a reasurance. We have passed the arguement of having a national assembly that can discuss on our behalf. That is if we had a hand in constituting those chambers of self-seeking men and women, some of who contribute the snores of their siester in the Assembly Chambers. The SNC shouldn’t be a debate. It should a resolve and Mr President in his characteristic way of treating issues with dispatch will attack it without delay. The fear of fear is the foundation of the strong.