AS reported by Vanguard, of July 21, there is already a plot to kill the report of CONFAB 2014, which is only awaiting some finishing touches on it. The plot to kill the report includes lobbying senators and lawmakers to kill it after it must have been submitted.
After all the efforts put into it, all the heated and positive debates, multiple meetings by pragmatic and top leaders of this nation; after they have collected all their allowances and enjoyed the fair treatment and largesse of government; after they have made their contacts across bridges, they now look their mates in the face and say: “You wasted time coming for this Confab , we told you it will not work, and it did not work”.
It is possible; after all , we had two different CONFABs before this and none of them saw the light of the day, perhaps because one section felt uncomfortable with some portions and killed the entire reports. This has been the case because we found ourselves running a nation where nationhood depends the sharing of oil money, and how to spend it. We can’t really blame those who want to kill the report, but we can remind them of the implications of their planned actions in the contemporary democratic Nigeria.
Killing the report will mean a colossal waste of the precious time of many Confab delegates; huge resources and opportunity costs squandered by these honourable delegates and the government. While it may be appreciated that those who want to kill the report do not care about costs in governance, many Nigerians of today, are expressing concerns and do care about wastefulness in governance. The plotters have unfortunately displayed how some leaders see and care about the use of the wealth of this nation.
Killing the report will not kill the knowledge and ideas people now have of what Nigeria should be under a proper agreement by the people. Nigerians now know what ought to be to live happily together as one nation. Majority of well-meaning Nigerians from all strata of this society still believe in the great potentials of this nation as one country, and that is why unlike this first two CONFAB reports, this one will prevail.
The 19 and other reports of the various committees already presented and adopted by the CONFAB, say so much to give the people hope for a better Nigeria. Killing the report, therefore, will breed frustrations from almost all ethnic and zonal entities that make up for Nigeria. It should be clear to all, by now, that Nigeria has changed so much since 1993 when the first credible elections were scuttled. We now have markets for human parts for quick money in the South West, kidnapping in the South East, militancy in the South- South, and Boko Haram terrorists that have joined the traditional jihadists in the North of Nigeria.
It is no gainsaying that although much wealth may lie in the North, presently we are depending on the oil and other minerals from the South-South.
Each of the federating zones has a fair expectation of when and how to access power at the centre. To stampede any region or zone them out of power may not be the wisest thing to do now if we still want to remain as one nation.
To destroy the gains of 95% over disagreement on 5% is a bad decision in every way! Since the CONFAB has agreed in all fairness on raising derivation fund from 13% to 18%, the 5% of revenue which is their headache could be split: 2 % to the devastations caused by Boko Haram in the North East, 0.5% to ethnic and religious violence victims in other parts of the North, and the rest 2.5 % for violence and criminal devastations in the entire South. The idea is to create something reasonable and specific for the North East economy.
It should be remembered that the Amalgamation treaty expired on December 2013. CONFAB 2014 Report will form the new basis for North and South to exist in one nation.
Touching their report therefore may be laying foundation for frustrations that could destroy the unity of Nigeria, in no time , just as to maintain the status quo will question the basis of trust in Nigeria by Nigerians. The time for a good change in the arrangement of Nigeria is here; it will be unwise to resist it.
The attitude of “if we don’t get it, we waste it ”, need to change in order for all to function in the better Nigeria about to be forged from this CONFAB.
Some people initially thought that they could use Boko Haram to get amnesty or arm-twist others to get into Aso Rock. Today, it has not worked out as they planned, and Borko Haram has left their zone worse of economically. They are full of regrets which may be part of the frustration and pain being expressed in the 5% quarrel. To resist and try to kill this Confab Report is to resist Nigeria and the wrong fight against GEJ.
Every decision brings inevitable consequences and responsibilities, and the Nigeria of today can throw back on any person, or group of persons. Those in the ignoble plot for the death of the Confab 2014 Report, should again think very well and deep.
A man who did not count the cost of building before embarking on construction should be ready to end up with an unfinished project.
A man who brings ant-infested firewood into the house should expect a visit of lizards. It is actually unfair to other regions for their common wealth to be used to rebuild the North East when they seem to have caused their problems. However, in the interest of one Nigeria, let them take the money!
Killing the CONFAB 2014 Report may swing either way and lead to regrets. We pray the Report prevails.
BY CLEMENT UDEGBEgbe, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos.