By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The Presidency does not intend to intervene in the near stalemate that enveloped the National Conference following a sharp disagreement between northern and southern delegates over derivation revenue.
The delegates are spoiling for war over the attempt by the North to block further increase of derivation revenue from 13 percent to 18 percent for oil-bearing states and a further five percent for national disasters.
While the North wants the five percent to be set aside for the war-ravaged Northeast Zone and other parts of the region affected by insurgency, the Southern delegates want the fund to be applied to all parts of the country affected by natural disasters.
The sharp disagreement has held down proceedings for several days with the northern delegates calling for a vote on the matter or a retention of the status quo.
Some northern delegates have even threatened to back out of the conference to register their dissatisfaction with the leadership’s handling of the report of the Devolution of Power Committee, which is headed by former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Obong Victor Attah.
There were high hopes that President Goodluck Jonathan would wade into the stalemate and direct the leadership on the way forward so that the conference would not be disrupted like the 2005 Political Reforms Conference, which was jettisoned by delegates midway into the proceedings as a result of fears that then President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to use and secure a third term in office.
But a source close to the Presidency told Sunday Vanguard last night that Jonathan would not intervene in the face off so as not to be seen as unduly interfering with the proceedings.
The source pointed out that Jonathan does not have any special interest to protect or advance as speculated by some politicians in certain quarters.
The source said that the President does not want to be seen as trying to influence any aspect of the nation’s life being debated by the conferees.
”I can tell you that Mr. President has not directly or indirectly tried to tele-guide the conference. His interest is to see how the delegates can resolve the issues at stake by themselves,” a senior presidency source said.
The source pointed out that to prove the President’s sincerity and honesty, he has not met with the leadership of the confab to dictate to them the direction they should take in the discharge of the national assignment since they started their proceedings.
”Let me tell you that the President only met twice with the officials of the national conference before they started deliberations and those meetings were to make it clear to them that he had no preconceived position or interest regarding the conference.
”The President is ready to abide by whatever outcome the conference throws up in the interest of Nigeria,” the top official explained.
When contacted on Saturday, the Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications, of the National Conference, Mr. Akpadem James, told Sunday Vanguard that the seeming disagreement among delegates would be resolved amicably in the interest of the nation.
James stated that most of the delegates, who would have met to resolve the controversial issues had made travel plans before the date of the meeting was announced.