By Dapo Akinrefon & Gbenga Oke
DIVERGENT views, yesterday, welcomed Wednesday’s approval by Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the final report of the 2014 National Conference. Notable persons, who commended the Federal Government on the approval included constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Saga, former chairman of the Committee on National Dialogue, Senator Femi Okurounmu; the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Labour Party respectively.
However, Second Republic federal lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed chided President Goodluck Jonathan saying he is insulting Nigeria’s intelligence.
Half bread better than none—Sagay
Welcoming the approval, Professor Sagay argued that core issues were not addressed at the conference. He said “well, half a loaf is better than no bread. The National Conference has come and gone but they did not touch on the core issues. They did not touch on issues like fiscal federalism, derivation, then, they were able to ensure that states could create more local governments, state police and autonomy of local governments. That is why I said half a loaf is better than no bread. We need to engage the federal government on the need to practice true federalism.”
It is good news — Okurounmu
Senator Okurounmu who threw his weight behind the approval said “the implementation of the report of the Confab is a good news. We were actually expecting the report implementation after the elections. With this development, this has given us hope that every recommendation of that confab will be implemented.”
Jonathan is insulting our intelligence — Mohammed
Mohammed, a Kano State delegate to the conference said the “National Conference, First and foremost, President Jonathan is insulting our intelligence because you don’t simply attempt to amend the laws of the land by merely taking a resolution in concerning amendment in your own cabinet because every recommendation must be subjected to referendum before it becomes law. He added that “the recommendations amount to nothing because some of them are not realizable.”
PDP Commends Jonathan
Commending the President, the PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh said “the development shows that the President and the PDP government are sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian people as encapsulated in the report. This move which has been positively received by Nigerians is in keeping with President Jonathan’s avowed commitment to strengthen the unity and stability of the nation, plug waste in the system and ensure equity in the polity in line with the PDP manifesto and visions of our founding fathers.”
It’s a dream come true—LP
On his part, Labour Party scribe, Mr Kayode Ajulo said the development was a dream come true. Ajulo said “It is a dream come true. We in the Labour Party believe that Nigeria needs change not in terms of personality but in terms of restructuring. Since the coup of 1966, Nigeria has not remained the same, we have been having difficulties in our country. Part of the recommendation of the National Conference is that Nigeria needs to practice true federalism. The dream of our party is for Nigeria to have a federal structure. If we can have this, then Nigeria will become a better place.
Implement all confab resolutions—PRONACO
Pro National Conference Organisation, PRONACO, carpeted government’s decision to implement some aspects of the resolutions of the national confab through constitution amendments process of the national assembly instead of the referendum of the people
PRONACO spokesperson, Olawale Okunniyi, faulted the proposed legislative amendments of the Nigerian constitution, saying it cannot lead the country to the desired enthronement of a peoples’ constitution for the country “as the national assembly can not make a constitution but laws based on the provisions of a constitution originally produced by the people”
He said apart from that, the vested political self interest of the national assembly is capable of jeopardising the yearnings of Nigerians for a brand new constitution that can be truly owned by them through a referendum or elected constituent assembly.
He stressed that the National Assembly as a legislative organ of government has no conventional or legal locus to foist a constitution on the Nigerian citizens
While applauding the steps taken so far by the Federal Government to deepen Nigeria’s constitutional democracy by convening the 2014 national confab, Okunniyi however cautioned the Federal Government that “it is an aberration and indeed abnormal for a government to produce a constitution for the people as they are only elected to make and implements laws and policies in accordance to the provisions of the constitution covenanted by the people “