National Conference of 492 Delegates to Gulp N7 Billion
Efforts by the Federal Government to bring its citizens together and
discuss the fundamental terms of their coexistence will cost a whooping N7
Indeed, the Federal Government yesterday released the modalities of the
three months national conference where such conditions would be mutually
A total of 492 delegates are to be nominated for the national conference.
Out of this, President Goodluck Jonathan is likely to choose 181.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius
Anyim, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a media briefing.
According to him, out of the 27 clusters of stakeholders outlined in the
proposed composition of the conference, the President has power over six
categories including the nomination of the chairperson, deputy
chairperson and the secretary.
The SGF said that the government had to implement the report of the
advisory committee immediately because of “the calls by Nigerians from
all walks of life for us to proceed with the report of the committee
with uttermost urgency, so that the nation can be through with the
dialogue well ahead of the approaching political season.”
He said that before taking the decision to accept the recommendations
for immediate implementation, the government held extensive
Such discussions came before even deciding that the “official name for
the conversation shall be the national conference”, shall hold in the
Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, “shall tentatively last for
three months and shall discuss any subject matter, except the
indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation, therefore the
unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable.”
Others are that a secretariat would manage and run the affairs of the
conference and that “decisions at the conference shall be by consensus,
but where it is not achievable, it shall be by 75 per cent majority. The
national conference shall advise the government on the legal framework,
legal procedures and options for integrating the decisions and outcomes
of the national conference into the constitution and laws of the
Anyim said that that the nomination of delegates would start on January
30, 2014 and end on February 20, 2014 and the inauguration of the
conference would follow soon after the delegates list is concluded.
He stated that the government sought guidance and explanations where
necessary from the advisory committee in the quest to expeditiously
consider the proposal.
The categorisation indicates that three persons would come from each of
the 36 states and one from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), based on
senatorial districts, “at least one of whom shall be a woman”, making
the second tier of government the highest contributor of representatives
with a total of 109 delegates to be nominated by the states governors.
But “where the state governor fails to nominate, the president shall
nominate the required number from the state.”
Next to the states are the socio-political/cultural and ethnic
nationality groups, where 15 persons would be selected for each
geopolitical zone. These “should reflect ethnic and religious
diversities”, and the 90 delegates would be nominated by 'stakeholders.'
The president would nominate 37 elder statesmen, one from each of the 36
states and FCT, while 24 delegates shall represent the civil society
organisations across the country, who would be nominated by stakeholders
within the sector across the country.
The Federal Government would as well nominate 20 others, at least six
shall be women, six persons not currently serving the bench from the
judiciary arm of government, in addition to six “outstanding youths and
role models”, one each from the six geo-political zones.
Other categories include 13 delegates from the professional bodies,
eight from Nigerians in the diaspora, two each from political parties
that have representation at the National Assembly that include the
People's Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), All
Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Accord Party and Labour Party.
Also included are two representatives each from the Newspaper
Proprietors Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, the
Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Journalists,
the organised private sector, all to be nominated by stakeholders in
the various groups.
Women group is also given 24 slots. These are 12 for the National
Council for Women Society for their pivotal role in women development
and six for the Market Women Association. The other six are to be
shared by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the
Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and the Women in
Management and Business (WINBIZ).
Other interest groups to be represented at the conference include
traditional rulers, two each from the geopolitical zones plus one from
Abuja, bringing the number to 13 delegates from the interest group. A
total of 18 from retired military and security personnel, that is six
each from the military, police and the state security and the National
Intelligence Agency (NIA), would all be nominated by stakeholders.
With a representation of 24 delegates expected to reflect gender and
geopolitical balance, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union
Congress are expected to send 12 nominees each. The National
Association of Nigerian Students and the National Youth Council of
Nigeria would send six delegates each to represent the geopolitical
Others include Christian and Muslim leaders, people living with
disabilities, former governors, senators' forum, House of
Representatives Forum, Association of Former Speakers and Former Local
Council Chairmen. Each of the clusters would send six delegates, one
each from the geopolitical zones as nominated by the stakeholders.
The composition also reflects that the national academies have five
slots, one each for the Academies of Science, Engineering, Education,
Letters and Social Sciences.
Anyim said that at the end, the national conference shall advise the
government on the legal framework, legal procedure and options for
integrating their decisions and outcome in the constitution or any law
of the country. The idea is that the conference would advise government
on the next step after the conference.
According to him, even though the situation of the president coming to
nominate for a governor is a probability, “why we made that provision is
such that the president will be at liberty to be in touch with the
governor, where any governor has a little difficulty the president will
assist the governor to resolve the difficulty, but we don't think that
the situation will arise, but we simply provided such that every person
should know that if you had any difficulty you can seek the help of the
president particularly the governor.”
According to Anyim, the nomination power of the Federal Government is
to make appropriate corrections in representation where the need arises.
“The Federal Government would exercise their own rights of nominations
after all other nominations have been collated, so that if there is any
imbalance, then the government can by their nomination try to balance
that power, so there won't be a problem of one dominant ethnic
nationality taking advantage of the minority within the state.”