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Afenifere Rejects Mark's Proposal For National Conference

By NBF News

The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) Sunday flayed the proposed national conference enunciated by the Senate President David Mark in the speech he delivered to declare open a new legislative session.

The ARG, a pan-Yoruba think-tank, also endorsed Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for a second term in office, at the instance of the feat it said his administration had recorded so far.

Fayemi's endorsement, which was disclosed in a statement, issued at the end of a three-day Governance Assessment Tour by the group to the state, during which it inspected a number of projects and listened to presentations from representatives of government agencies.

But in another statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, the ARG explained that Mark's speech espoused good judgment, which the group said, marked a major detour from the one he delivered at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference some weeks ago.

According to the statement, we have some reservations as we still consider Mark's proposal for a national conference as a piecemeal. We condemn Mark's morbid obsession for the false inviolability of 1999 Constitution, a recurring theme in his speech.'

The statement explained that Nigerians 'are not made for the law and as such, their fate cannot be sealed, as Mark wants, by the constitution. His job will be more fruitful if he directs the affairs of his office by the conviction that National Assembly represents the people and not the constitution.

'We also found it distasteful for Mark to condescendingly regard leaders of ethnic nationalities as an unpredictable mass, a description that shows he still bears vestiges of military dictatorship, even after more than a decade as the custodian of the nation's democratic institution.

'We believe the constitution derives its powers from the sovereignty of the people and not the other way round as Mark wants us to believe. Another wrong notion in Mark's speech was his claim that Sovereign National Conference (SNC) is a sectional agenda instead of national panacea.

'We do not believe that SNC will serve Yoruba interest the most. In fact, the Ijaws stands to benefit more. But of what use is prosperity when there is no peace? It therefore makes sense for peace that the Ijaw people keep their oil proceeds and pay royalty to the federal government.'

On Fayemi's endorsement, the group's National Chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun, said his sterling performance deserved an unopposed ticket for a second term, given his strides in providing quality governance for the people of the state.

According to him, Fayemi's policies are not just about executing projects, they are focused on human developmental goals. He has also shown that he could uphold the welfarism ethos of our founding fathers as espoused by the movement led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

'With what we have seen, we can boldly say that Ekiti State is ready to tap into regional, national, and global economic potentials while also developing its local economies to global standards,' he said.

According to him, the group got a favourable report about the performances of the governor in the Chief Segun Odegbami-led fact-finding committee, which was set up by the ARG leadership to assess the governor in the areas of economy, wealth creation, education, governance, and healthcare delivery.

Other areas, according to him, where Fayemi was found to have performed creditably well in the report include, infrastructure, water supply, civil service and regional integration, agriculture, women empowerment among other pivotal sectors of the economy.

While maintaining that Fayemi should be entitled to right of first refusal in All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2014 governorship election, the ARG leader, said: 'There is nothing wrong in allowing a performing governor or any elected official to continue in office.'

Oshun added: 'Even, this is the practice in advanced countries of the world like United States where Presidential system of government is practiced. No member of the Democratic Party contested against President Barack Obama for the last presidential race.

'Fighting over position used to generate a lot of acrimony in a party and distracts the incumbent. Even you can imagine the acrimony that is witnessed when children fight over a piece of meat in their plate at home.'

Earlier, Odegbami in his report, said the members of the committee travelled across length and breadth of the state for on-the-spot assessment of all the projects before making their recommendations.

He added that the assessment was expansively done in Ekiti and Osun States, where Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.