By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – Glimpses that the ongoing national conference in Abuja may culminate into a support group for the realization of President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term ambition were seen yesterday with the emergence of a group called National Unity Forum (NUF).
The group which has its members drawn from the crow of delegates to the conference also has many numbers of politicians including those who had occupied various high offices in the country at different times.
Former Senate President, Mr. Adolphus Wabara, former Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu and senator Florence Ita Giwa are leading the group.
It was learnt that the group was formed at the earliest days of the conference to galvanize thoughts for the actualization the second term ambition of the president.
Accordingly, it is canvassing for more members.
To them, the national conference was one huge gathering to foster the required synergy and link across the country and so far, the group had held 5 different meetings subtly.
Cashing on the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno State and at large, the security situation in the country, the group which held a press conference called religious tolerance and unity among Nigerians.
Essentially, the group also called for the release of the abducted girls.
The press briefing was coming just when the national conference was expected to enter another phase of plenary session on Monday.
Appeal to delegates
Reading from a paper titled “An Appeal to the Conscience of Confab Delegates”, which represented the position of the group, Senator Mantu said it was necessary to appeal to their colleagues at the conference to eschew actions that would further escalate the already precarious situation of things in the country.
He said: “We members of the National Unity Forum of the national CONFAB are here today to bare our minds on the state of our nation having watched with keen interest how the security of our country has continued to tragically deteriorate to a bewildering level that calls for urgent national and international concern and actions.
“We cannot pretend that all is well with our country seeing how innocent lives and property are being destroyed daily, how fear has engulfed the hearts of our citizens and how sleep has engulfed our eyes. We are indeed, in a state of a hapless war, the end of which is better imagined.
“Our country has come of age. Having lived together for over 100 years, the present administration under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan found it most expedient to invite all Nigerians to come together to brainstorm and possibly plot the future of the country under one banner of peace, unity and progress.
“As delegates to this historic conference, we owe this country a duty to proffer the best we can offer, not only for the present generation, but also for the benefit of generations coming after we are long gone. The spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood should not be lost on the altar of sentimental agitations based on ethnic jingoism, regional leanings and religious bigotry.”
Continuing, Mantu said that the nation cannot achieve any meaningful progress in the state of rancour and acrimony against one another.
“We must remember that this nation cannot achieve anything meaningful as a nation when we live continually in acrimony, suspicion, discordance, verbal, physical and psychological fights that are baseless and retrogressive. The time has come for us all to rally together as a people with indivisible vision and determination to conquer forces of evil that are bent on tearing us apart. We are all one.
“Providence has put us together for a purpose and we in the national unity forum believe that there is no mistake in our being together. We urge CONFAB delegates and all Nigerians to eschew dangerous games that will in any way tinker with our unity and destiny as a nation,” he said.
Who we are.
Fielding questions from Journalists on who the members were and why the they decided to come up with the idea one month after the abduction of the school girls, Senator Giwa, speaking on behalf of the forum said they have been networking since the beginning of the conference.
The import of this, however, was that it couldn’t have been for the sole reason of rescuing the kidnapped school children that the forum was formed.
She said: “We are politicians. We are not denying the fact that we are politicians. But in every gathering of that magnitude, as soon as you come out and converge on one place, certain group will start thinking alike, start developing interest and from there, it will develop itself. This national unity forum, we have had about five big meetings. We have been meetings quietly. Most times at the end of the deliberations, we have been meetings.
“We feel that having gone into committee work and about to return to plenary , number one, that we should come out and make you the media, at this point in time, to introduce ourselves to the public about what we stand for. We stand for continuity. We stand for the unity of this country. We stand for this interest to focus deliberations in a way that people devoid of political interest or religious leanings, focus on the fact that we want Nigeria to move to the next level. And Nigeria can only move to the next level on what the outcome of this country will be.
“Also, we have a number of programmes coming up from time to time. I want ensure that there will be light after this conference. People that have the same belief in the unity of this country will continue to meet. The best union, the best political associations are always formed at this level of the conference, from this magnitude of this type of conference. So, that why we are coming out today to let you know and also to appeal to the conscience of our colleagues that the nation is looking up to how we deliberate. So, we are to appeal to our colleagues that as we come back, let us deliberate in a way that move the nation forward. We have a huge number of members. But people are very busy.”
It will be recalled that the committees concluded their work yesterday. Another round of plenary would begin on Monday where members were expected to vote on all the issues recommended by the committees.