BY DAUD OLATUNJI
ABEOKUTA — The chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu, yesterday, blasted the Professor Ben Nwabueze-led Igbo leaders of thought for criticising his committee’s report, accusing the group of pursuing personal agenda.
Okunrounmu, who also stated that Nwabueze group clearly went beyond the bounds of decency and decorum by fabricating a report purely from their own imagination, describing the allegations against his committee as “wild, mendacious, obfuscatory and ill intentioned.”
Speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Okurounmu said attempts to discredit the committee would not succeed because majority of Nigerians are enthusiastic about the proposed national dialogue.
The Concerned Igbo Leaders of Thought, led by Nwabueze, on Monday, in Enugu, expressed disapproval of the recommendations in the report of Presidential Advisory Committee, PAC, on national dialogue, saying the report fell short of the aspirations of Nigerians.
The Igbo leaders who said the confab committee recommended mere amendment of the nation’s constitution as against new constitution, also kicked against the panel’s alleged proposal to select delegates on the basis of senatorial zones or federal constituencies.
But, the group declared that the ability of the committee to present a single report and forestal “dissenting or minority report” was a tremendous achievement, adding that the criticisms by Nwabueze’s group were meant to be a setback for the national conference by injecting a crisis of confidence between the committee, the people and the government.
He said: “They say, among other allegations, that the committee recommended a mere amendment of the constitution, whereas what the people desire is a new constitution.
“They continue and allege that the Presidential Committee recommended that the findings and conclusions of the conference be passed to the National Assembly whereas what they desire is a referendum.
“These allegations show clearly that members of the group have neither seen nor read the report that they are criticising and are merely acting on hear-say because the Presidential Advisory Committee, under my chairmanship, made no such recommendations as alleged.
“The Nwabueze led group has clearly gone beyond the bounds of decency and decorum by fabricating a report purely from their own imagination and leveling such scathing criticisms against it with a view to discrediting the real report, which it has obviously not yet seen.”