By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- AHEAD of 2015 Presidential election, strong indications emerged weekend that moves were on to strengthen the political structure of President Goodluck Jonathan as he plans to declare for his re- election bid through a group called National Unity Forum.
At the weekend, the arrow heads of the Forum, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Gen. Jerry Useni, ex- Senate President, Adolphus Wabara; former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu; former Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita- Giwa, among others gathered delegates to the on- going National Conference for an interactive dinner held at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The event which had in attendance delegates from across the six geo- political zone, was according to the organisers designed to further strengthen the unity
of the country.
Speaking at the event, former Senate President Adolphus and a delegate said that despite the significance of Nigeria in the international scene,it was yet to evolve into a true nation.
Wabara who spoke on the backdrop of last Wednesday’s bomb blasts at a shopping mall in Wuse 11, however hailed President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for convening the national conference which has brought together prominent Nigerians to help proffer solutions to some of the current challenges bedevilling the nation, adding, “After one century of existence as geo-political entity, Nigeria is yet to evolve into a nation state. Though it plays important roles in the international arena, it lacks the structures that present it as a developed nation.”
Welcoming Delegates to the official flag off ceremony of the National Unity Forum(NUF), Senator Florence Ita-Giwa who noted that she was impressed with the calibre of delegates and very robust discourse and issues which helped to douse the initial scepticism associated with the 2014 conference, adding that there was need for a post conference platform to further bond the delegates as well as consolidate on the established relationship created at the Conference.
According to her, NUF was put together by some delegates participating at the conference, adding that it was a non-political group, but designed to foster cordial interaction among the delegates especially when the need arises to douse tension associated with the conference proceedings.
She said, “This forum was started informally on the insistence of Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Deputy Senate President,it is meant to discuss issues among delegates and make friends.
“I must confess that the formation of this forum has helped to douse a lot of tension. Because most nights in our meetings, very late into the night we have serious arguments on issues from the committee which we can come together and discuss among ourselves.
“It provide solutions on each topic that are to be discussed the next day. Inputs are gotten from delegates. A lot has been achieved from this forum, many of us belong to more than one forum. This forum is not partisan.
“This is not a political thing and I don’t believe in any agenda so to speak.”
In his remarks, Senator Ibrahim Mantu said the quality of debates at the conference has been very impressive adding that it provides an opportunity for delegates who have never been used to the workings of the legislature to talk and interact anywhere in the world, just as he enjoined Nigerians to always opt for cordial co-existence among all ethnic groups as peace was a major factor for development.