By JOSEPH ERUNKE
ABUJA–DELEGATES at the ongoing National Conference have considerably trimmed down their aides in what could be attributed to the non provision of allowances for the aides by the confab management.
Aides of the delegates were more than 492, the actual number of delegates at the conference on the first week it commenced.
Most delegates with retinue of aides had, shortly after accreditation, made case for their aides that they should be paid allowances but the confab chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, while responding on the issue, said there was no such provision.
As the conference enters its second week now, delegates were seen to have reduced their aides, leaving only those seen to be very essential, especially drivers.
The huge number of delegates’ aides at the first week of the conference made the number of people at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, venue of the National Conference very large and rowdy.
The conference hall of the institute where the plenary holds was also rowdy and full to capacity during first week.
Another reason the delegates may have decided to withdraw their aides could be the non extension of food being served delegates to their aides.
Also, with the insistence of Kutigi that there was no allowance for aides, delegates with aides became responsible for the hotel accommodation and other welfare packages for their aides.
Aides of the delegates were almost being seen loitering and grumbling over hunger.
Drivers were seen being sent outside to buy food for them following the non provision of food.
Most delegates, as a result of their reduction of aides now, are being seen carrying their files themselves, contrary to what obtained at the conference the first week.
The insistence of the confab secretariat that there would be no allowances for aides, saves controversies among delegates over the issue, as such would have compelled most delegates to drag their friends, close relatives and office workers to the conference to benefit.
Some delegates, who spoke with Vanguard on the issue, commended the conference management for the decision, saying accommodating aides by being given the allowances and special packages would have triggered crisis among delegates.
“I would have asked by younger ones with no serious things doing yet to join me here.
“Some of us who are relatively young and without aides but who are delegates here must have called even our friends to join us here as aides because we can’t allow such happen.
“Whether you are a former governor, senator, retired general, IG or whatever here, we are all equal here as delegates,” one of the delegates that would not want his name in print told Vanguard.