Confab delegates protest c’ttees’ composition

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BY Henry Umoru & Joesph  Erunke

ABUJA— IT  was a stormy session, yesterday, at the Andrews Otutu Obaseki Auditorium, venue of the ongoing National Conference, as delegates protested the composition of membership of the 20 standing committees, complaining that there was no fairness and equity in the appointment of chairmen and deputy chairmen of committees.

Women delegates were also not left out as they protested against the chairmanship of committees, alleging that they were not justly treated and that only few women were appointed into chairmanship positions unlike their men counterparts.

Since the commencement of the conference, delegates never had it this rowdy as their protests, at the end of the day, marred composition of committees released by the secretariat of the National Conference.

Some delegates shouted and accused the conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, of giving preference to delegates he considered superior to others.

At the resumed plenary yesterday, where the issue of committee composition was tabled for debate, majority of the delegates disagreed with the Conference Secretariat on the composition of committees.

Shortly before taking complaints from delegates on the issue, the conference Chairman pleaded with delegates that since time was not on their side again, having spent a month out of the three months period required for the assignment to be completed, there was the need for work to be done and show something to Nigerians to justify why they were at the conference.

“One month is already gone out of the three months we were given by the President for this assignment and we have to produce something for Nigeria to justify our stay here,” he had pleaded.

Delegates did not listen to his plea, as they started raising up their hands to protest over what they called the inability of the Conference Secretariat to allot them their preferred committees.

It was at this point that Kutigi shouted at delegates, stressing the need for respect for one another.

Apart from being denied their preferred committees, the delegates complained that most committees they considered more juicy were allotted to delegates considered superior to others.

A delegate from Edo State, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), who observed that delegates were not chosen in their areas of professionalism, suggested that they should be asked to submit memoranda to committees they feel they were relevant so that their interests can still be considered.

On his part, Mr. Abu Clifford, a delegate from the youth organisation, protested that 18 of those representing Nigerian youths were not spread across the 20 committees and demanded that they should be spread across the committees, else they would take a decision.

Princess Rabiu Ibrahim, a delegate from women organisation, protested that gender issue was not taken into consideration as women were not properly placed as chairmen of committees like their men counterparts, saying such was not in line with the 35 percent affirmative action which the country was preaching.

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