*All 492 delegates to be nominated
*75% majority to approve decisions
*Conference may begin late February
By Okey Ndiribe
ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday, declared that the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria would be the only no-go area for the planned National Conference which may be convened before the end of February.
This was disclosed by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the Federal Government’s endorsement of the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue which submitted its report few weeks ago.
During the briefing, Anyim was flanked by Chairman and Secretary of the Presidential Committee on National Dialogue, Senator Femi Okurounmu and Dr. Akilu Indabawa, respectively.
He also said the Federal Government had provided for the confab in the 2014 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly.
Anyim further disclosed that a total of 492 delegates would be expected to attend the conference which is scheduled to take place in Abuja after the conclusion of nomination of delegates slated for February 20.
The SGF said that the confab which is scheduled to last for three months shall have a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson of “unimpeachable integrity.” He added that the exercise must be concluded before the commencement of political activities leading up to next year’s general elections.
According to Anyim: “The official name of the conversation/conference shall be “The National Conference”.
He stated that decisions at the National Conference shall be by consensus, but where it is not achievable, it shall be by 75 per cent majority.
He further stated that the National Conference shall advise the Government on the legal framework, legal procedures and options for integrating the decisions and outcomes of the confab into the Constitution and laws of the country.
Anyim disclosed that a Conference Management Secretariat shall be established to manage, administer and run the affairs of the Conference.
He also stated that nomination of delegates which shall begin immediately must be completed by all stakeholders before a date for the commencement of the confab could be fixed.
List of nominees
According to him: “The list of nominees shall be submitted either online to www.osgf.gov.ng or in hard copy to the Office of the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties Office), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase I, 3rd Floor, Central Business District, Abuja.”
The SGF also released a list indicating the details of the proposed composition of the conference which showed that the Federal Government would nominate a minimum of 73 delegates.
A break down of this figure shows that the President shall appoint the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary of the confab. He shall also nominate 37 elder statesmen representing the 36 states of the federation and the FCT. The document further indicates that the Federal Government shall directly nominate 20 delegates, of which six shall be women.
The confab shall also have six retired judiciary nominees which would be appointed by the President. Another six nominees who shall represent outstanding youths in the country shall be appointed by the Federal Government to represent the nation’s six geo-political zones.
The list further shows that state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, would nominate a total of 109 delegates to represent the nation’s Senatorial Districts. Each state in the federation would be expected to nominate three delegates while the FCT would be represented by one delegate.
The list provides that ethnic nationalities in the country, alongside socio-political and cultural groups will produce a total of 90 delegates which shall comprised 15 per geo-political zone. Nominations for delegates in this category must reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the various geo-political zones.
The comprehensive list
The comprehensive list is as follows: Retired military and security personnel:
Military – six delegates: one from each geo-political zone; Police- six delegates, one from each zone; State Security Service and Nigerian Intelligence Agency NIA, six, one from each zone.
A total of 13 traditional rulers in all shall be delegates at the confab. Every zone shall send two traditional rulers, while one would come from FCT. Retired civil servants would nominate six delegates from the six zones.
The Nigeria Labour Movement shall be represented by a total of 24 delegates which shall comprise 12 each from the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Unions Congress, TUC.
The Organised Private Sector would be represented by eight delegates who are to be nominated by NECA, MAN, NACCIMA and NESG. Each of them shall nominate two delegates.
Nigerian youths shall also be represented by 18 delegates at the confab: Six of them shall come from the six zones; six from NANS representing the six zones while another six “ outstanding youths and role models” would represent the six zones.
Women groups in the country would be represented by a total of 24 delegates. Among the groups that would nominate delegates are NCWS-12; Market Women associations- six, reflecting the six zones. Other women groups that would send two delegates each are NAWOJ, FIDA and WINBIZ.
Political parties in the country which have members in the National Assembly would also be represented by two delegates each; they include PDP, APC, Labour Party, APGA and Accord Party.
The two major religions in the country that is Christianity and Islam are to be represented by six delegates each, while civil society groups are to be represented by 24 delegates who are expected to reflect the nation’s federal character.
Nigerians in diaspora would not be left out as eight of them would also participate in the confab as delegates. The eight delegates are to represent Nigerians in the Americas-two, Europe-two, Asia and the Middle-East, two and Africa-two.
People living with disabilities would nominate six delegates to the confab, one from each zone.
The media would also be represented by NPAN, NUJ, NGE and BON which were allotted two slots each.
Professional bodies in the country would also send 13 delegates. They include NBA, NSE and CIB. Others include NMA, NIM, NIA, ICAN, ANAN, NIPR, AAPN, NIESV and Nigeria Environmental Society. They are all expected to send one delegate each.
The various academies in the country would send a total of five delegates. They include: Academies of Science, Engineering and Education. Others are academies of letters and social sciences. Each of them would send one delegate.
Former political office holders would also be accommodated at the confab. Former governors in the country would send six delegates- from the six zones. This also applies to former Senators, former members of the House of Representatives and Association of former Speakers. Former chairmen of local government areas would also send six delegates reflecting the six zones. They would be nominated by ALGON.
It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan had during his Independence Day broadcast last October, informed Nigerians that he had set up a Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue with the following composition: Senator Dr. Femi Okurounmu-Chairman; Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa -Secretary and
Senator Khairat Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe as member.
Others included: Senator Timothy Adudu; Professor Olufunke Adeboye; Professor George A. Obiozor and Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, NNOM.
Also appointed into the committee were Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed; Malam Bukhari Bello, MFR, mni; Mr. Tony I. Uranta; Col. Tony Nyiam (Rtd); Alhaji Dauda Birmah, OFR and Dr. Mrs. Mairo Ahmed Amshi, MFR.
In his remarks while inaugurating the Committee on October 7, 2013, President Jonathan had said it comprised of ‘Nigerians with wide experiences from various disciplines. He also described the formation of the Committee as ‘a child of necessity.’ He stated that the foundational principle that drove the composition of the Committee was to work towards convening a national conversation.