BY Ben Agande
ABUJA— President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, declared that the proposed national conference will hold early next year, saying “by the time we conclude this conference there will be fewer open letters that Nigerians will read.”
He spoke, yesterday, when the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue submitted its report.
According to the President, his administration will partner with all stakeholders “to convene this dialogue, which outcome will add value to the process of building a stronger, united, more democratic and stable Nigeria.
“This discussion process is for the benefit of the entire nation. Every Nigerian or group has an important role to play to ensure its success.
“I have no personal interest in this dialogue or conversation or the conference. I will allow the will of Nigerians to prevail.
“The submission of the report of the advisory committee marks another milestone in our march towards building a better cohesive society for us and our children.
“I am told that majority of Nigerians, who participated in the interactive sessions that you conducted in 13 major cities across the country, expressed agreement with our commitment of an indissoluble united and stronger Nigeria.
“In order to meet the yearning of Nigerians and provide our people the platform they desire, government will study this report and act on its recommendation.”
Directive to Finance Minister
President Jonathan said he had already directed the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to make adequate financial provisions so that the conference can take off next year.
He informed members of the committee that to hasten the work on the report, “the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation will call some of you from time to time to help us quickly understand this and set up the team that will carry on with the assignment.”
Chairman of the committee, Okurounmu, who refused to give an insight into the committee’s recommendations, also dispelled insinuations that there was a minority report by a member of the committee.
He said the incidence in Benin, where there was a rowdy session as a result of the position of the governor against the committee, was an indication that the governor was not in touch with the feelings of his people, majority of who support the national conference.